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US soldiers undergo marksmanship training in Puerto Rico

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A contingent of more than 80 New York Army National Guard soldiers has participated in marksmanship training in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

The soldiers are assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment and are based at the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City, US.

A pair of C-130 Hercules operated by the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing from Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia transported soldiers to Puerto Rico for a four-day assignment earlier this month.

The soldiers reached Camp Santiago in Puerto Rico and underwent exercises to hone their combat skills.

Camp Santiago is the primary training site for the Puerto Rico National Guard, comprising ranges and other training areas.

The training exercise included a reflexive fire shoot and a stress shoot. Reflexive fire training is designed to reinforce the fundamentals of short-range marksmanship.

“We kept the squads and the fire teams organic with everyone who will be present at annual training, and we had them moving as a team.”

As part of the reflexive fire, soldiers had to identify and engage targets at ranges from 5m to 25m while stationary and then while turning and walking.

Alpha Company platoon leader first lieutenant Matthew Canavan said: “For the reflexive fire, the soldiers use facing movements and controlled shots. Instead of taking single shots, they are shooting, moving, and communicating.

“We kept the squads and the fire teams organic with everyone who will be present at annual training, and we had them moving as a team.”

In order to replicate the stress involved in combat situations, soldiers were put through a series of activities during the stress shoot.

Canavan added: “The stress shoot involves getting a soldier’s heart rate up as it would be in combat. We took each squad and had them run a quarter mile and then had them conduct push-ups, flutter kicks, and burpees so we could tire out their muscles.”

The shooting exercise commenced once the soldiers were fatigued. The stress shoot involved engaging a variety of targets in quick succession from the standing, kneeling, and prone positions.



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