Basic basics

Basic Training Gets a Boost (01/21/04 post)

Strategy Page has a post about alterations to basic training, which is trying to incorporate lessons learned from our experiences so far in Afghanistan and Iraq. Among the additions

  • How to function in a convoy under attack. This is a first for basic training. In the past, this was part of the training for non-combat units. But many troops will come out of basic, go through another few weeks or months of technical training and then find themselves in Iraq with a non-combat units. Too late to train them then, so now “convoy combat” is part of basic training.
  • Much greater emphasis on how to keep your rifle clean, and how to use it on foot and from a vehicle.
  • Much more training one how to spot roadside bombs, booby traps and all the other improvised explosive devices found in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Peacekeeping Basics. Instruction on what to expect in peacekeeping operations, especially how to deal with exotic civilians, and hostile fighters who try and blend in with local civilians.
  • Training on other weapons, like the SAW (5.56mm light machine-gun), .50 caliber machine-gun and AT-4 (rocket launcher).
  • More first aid training, with emphasis on the types of wounds most commonly encountered in Iraq and the new medical gear available to troops. In the past, a lot of emphasis was placed on dealing with chest wounds, which could be fatal if not quickly treated. The new protective vests make such wounds less frequent, but there are more wounds to arms, legs and head, especially from roadside bombs and RPGs.

This is all good stuff. Strategy Page notes that not much has been dropped from training to make room for this new, important stuff. Instead, a lot of additional training is done on weekends instead of giving recruits most of the time off.

I hope they’re incorporating more basic rifle training for everyone, as General Schoomaker discussed in October.