Once the commander has developed his METL and made a thorough assessment of training proficiency, he begins the detailed process of developing a training plan. When planning the gunnery aspect of the training plan, the master gunner is the most valuable asset to aid the commander.
This chapter identifies the master gunnerís responsibilities in aiding the commander, as well as the commanderís responsibilities in managing crew turbulence and conducting long-range, short-range, and near-term planning.
The primary mission of the master gunner is to aid and assist commanders at all echelons in the planning, development, execution, and evaluation of all crew-served weapons related training (individual, crew, and collective).
The master gunnerís specific duties are directed by the commander. Examples of his duties are:
- Confirm zero techniques.
- Coordinate target arrays, exposure times for all targets, and maneuver box verification. Set up all ranges to make sure they meet the standards set forth in this manual.
The master gunnerís main responsibilities are listed above, but may change in scope, depending on the level that he is assigned. The master gunner should not be assigned additional duties other than those listed here. Unit gunnery training programs need a great deal of attention to be effective.
The specific duties of the regimental, squadron, troop/company, and platoon master gunner are listed in the table below.
|MASTER GUNNER DUTIES|
The greatest problem a commander faces when developing a training plan is the cause and effect of crew turbulence (personnel changes). Commanders must develop a plan to reduce and control crew turbulence before developing and executing his training plan. Turbulence is unavoidable, but may be reduced by planning ahead. Some possible solutions for reducing turbulence are:
- Change personnel as a crew not as a single crewman (for example, when a staff sergeant vehicle commander is promoted to platoon sergeant, his entire crew moves with him). This causes only one crew change, instead of two.
- Train alternates for each position.
- Continually cross-train personnel for replacements. Experienced soldiers are easier to train than new soldiers.
- Form complete crews as personnel come into the unit. Match the loss dates (ETS and PCS) within the same crew.
Long-range planning is resource-oriented; commanders identify training needs from the METL task proficiency assessment. Goals are established, and resources are forecasted and allocated to reach these goals. (See FM 25-101 for additional information on long-range planning.)
Commanders must consider the following when conducting long-range planning:
- Crew turbulence.
- Performance during previous gunnery, maneuver exercises, and squad and platoon STXs and FTXs.
Resources identified during long-range planning are allocated and prioritized during short-range planning. Command training guidance is published to provide trainers with detailed information on the training objective.
- Vehicle services.
- Mandatory training events prescribed from higher.
- Nontraining events, such as holidays, leaves, and installation support.
- Crew and dismounted training priorities, and expected outcome.
- Leader, individual, and collective tasks associated with the training event.
- Steps required to prepare trainers and evaluators.
- Fuel and repair parts.
- Range and maneuver area.
- Availability of training devices.
Commanders and master gunners must carefully manage ammunition allocations, especially when dealing with 40-mm TP resources. Once the yearly ammunition authorization is known, ammunition should be allocated in specific priority.
- First: crew qualification.
- Second: crew practice.
- Third: qualification refires and additional training.
- First: weapons qualification.
- Second: squad and platoon LFX.
- Third: LFX refires and additional training.
- First: platoon qualification.
- Second: platoon practice.
Ammunition is forecasted no later than 120 days before the training event. There are many reasons why the ammunition authorization may fall short of the forecasted training requirement. When this happens, commanders must develop a strategy to train with less ammunition. Several considerations are:
Near-term planning is conducted primarily at squadron, company, and platoon level. Its primary purpose is to conduct final coordination and provide specific guidance to the units.
Training meetings should be held at squadron, company, and platoon level so that detailed information is understood by all key personnel.
Squadron meetings focus on training management. Considerations include--
Company and platoon meetings discuss the details of executing the training event; specifically--
Note. See Chapter 9 for additional information on range set-up, execution, and key individual responsibilities.
The formal training plan culminates with the training schedule; however, commanders, key leaders, and all trainers must continue to informally plan and coordinate training with a series of pre-execution checks. Additionally, trainers, soldiers, and support personnel must thoroughly prepare for training.
Pre-execution checks systematically prepare soldiers, trainers, and resources to ensure training starts properly. These checks are developed, and responsibility is fixed during short-range planning.
Commanders prepare trainers to conduct performance-oriented training by providing time, guidance, resources, and references. These trainers rehearse their preparations and review the tasks and subtasks to be conducted. This preparation gives the trainer confidence in his ability to perform the task and teach soldiers the correct skills.