101st RTI hosts Senior Gunner Course

Students of the Senior Gunner Course trained to assist commanders at all echelons in planning, executing and evaluating crew direct fire gunnery at the 101st Regional Training Institute
 on Joint Base Cape Cod, Mass., 13-27 November 2019. 

A Mobile Training Team from the Warrior Training Center at Ft. Benning, Ga. conducted the course which included Mounted Machine Gun Vehicle Crew Evaluator certification; MMG gunnery skills testing on M240B, M2A1 and MK19 crew-served weapons, ammunition identification, and vehicle identification; the Direct Fire Engagement Process; gunnery prerequisites, range operations and an in-depth 12-month unit training plan.  

The course targeted students that were accomplished noncommissioned officers to be MMG gunnery subject matter experts for their units, comparable in duties to Abrams and Bradley Master Gunners.

One of the instructors from the Mobile Training Team, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Talarico, explained that they do not only teach the students how to assist the commanders in the planning process, they guide them to be able to get to a successful objective task assessment methodology. 

Objective T provides a standardized and deliberate training assessment of the unit. 

A T proficiency rating means a unit is fully trained.

The trained Senior Gunners will go back to their units and share their expertise with senior leadership to come up with the best training plan possible, often years ahead of the actual training event. Being introduced to contacts and procedures makes the planning process run much more smoothly.

 “We are building a network for the Senior Gunners,” said Talarico.

 The Training Support Center at Camp Edwards, JBCC, walked the students through a few of the available training options to incorporate into their training plans.

Sgt. Nicholas Simoes, who works for TSC, gave a thorough demonstration of the UGT-I and the VCOT.

The UGT-I, or Unstabilized Gunnery Trainer-Individual, simulates a combat vehicle’s gunner station using a virtual-reality based turret and incorporates proper loading and unloading procedures.

The Virtual Convoy Operations Trainer is considered the Mother of All Trainers, according to Raydon, the company that created the UGT-I and the VCOT. The VCOT integrates MMG, Maneuver/Convoy, Section/Platoon and Crew Gunnery, with multiple training seats for Combat Vehicle Drivers, Truck Commanders and Gunners. There is also a screen with printable scoresheets the units can take for their records.

The students walked next door to check out the Virtual Battle Space system, and Robert Miller was there to answer any questions they had about utilizing this system.  

VBS offers realistic battlefield simulations and the ability to operate land, sea, and air vehicles.

Miller spoke on his capability not only to run the VBS system at JBCC, but can also bring his mobile system to armories or training areas as long as he has some advanced notice.

Simooes recommended the use of the VBS system if the unit utilizes the CREW system, as the VCOT does not incorporate that type of training.

To request these or any of the many available training opportunities available at the TSC, the Senior Gunners must ask the unit’s training NCO to put a request into Range Facility Management Support System.

“We have everything and we are always willing to help,” said Simoes.

Story and Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Laura Berry

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