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Chapter 8

Training Management and Unit Training Plans

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 gunner's responsibilities in aiding the commander, as well as the commander's responsibilities in managing crew turbulence and conducting long-range, short-range, and near-term planning.

Master Gunner

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 gunner's specific duties are directed by the commander. Examples of his duties are:

  • Develop or conduct training and certification of crew evaluators.
  • Assist all elements within the unit concerning gunnery training.
  • Forecast all ammunition for training.
  • Manage gunnery records, GST records, and turbulence rosters.
  • Coordinate and control training devices.
  • Train crews on MILES gunnery peculiarities (zeroing and maintenance).
  • Execute gunnery training. Supervise live-fire ranges to ensure all standards are followed; specifically--
  • - 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.

  • Set up and conduct GST training, and evaluate the results.
  • Advise the commander of the tactical capabilities of the MK 19, M2 HB, and TOW weapon systems against threat systems, in coordination with the S2.

The master gunner's 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.

Regimental Master
  • Works closely with the master gunners at lower echelons to ensure standards are uniform throughout the training programs.
  • Develops the crew evaluator certification program.
  • Provides any new information on ways to improve training.
  • Helps develop and upgrade range facilities.
Squadron Master
  • Ensures continual education of the master gunners in the squadron.
  • Helps the squadron commander and command sergeant major select master gunner school candidates.
  • Develops new training techniques to improve crew training.
  • Coordinates with the regiment for training assets.
  • Certifies crew evaluators in accordance with the TCEPT training plan.
  • Certifies GST evaluators in accordance with this manual.
  • Certifies range safety personnel.
Master Gunner
  • Coordinates with the squadron S3 to secure troop/company gunnery training assets.
  • Trains crew evaluators in accordance with the TCEPT training program.
  • Assists in troubleshooting and maintenance of weapons.
Platoon Master
  • Is primarily responsible for the platoon's weapon maintenance program.
  • Updates the troop/company master gunner on the platoon's crew training.
  • Assists the troop/company master gunner in unit training.

Crew Stability Management

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:

  • Short-term solutions:
  • - 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.

  • Long-term solutions:
  • - 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

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:

  • What is the current platoon proficiency level? This is based on--
  • - Crew turbulence.
    - Performance during previous gunnery, maneuver exercises, and squad and platoon STXs and FTXs.

  • What are the performance goals for the platoons? What proficiency level must crews reach to accomplish METL tasks?
  • What resources are necessary, and where is the command emphasis?
  • What schools are necessary to certify and train trainers?

Short-Range Planning

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.

  • Short-range gunnery scheduling considerations are:
  • - Vehicle services.
    - Mandatory training events prescribed from higher.
    - Nontraining events, such as holidays, leaves, and installation support.

  • Short-range guidance considerations are:
  • - 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.

  • Gunnery resource considerations are:
  • - Ammunition.
    - 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.

  • Mounted crew training.
  • - First: crew qualification.
    - Second: crew practice.
    - Third: qualification refires and additional training.

  • Dismounted training.
  • - First: weapons qualification.
    - Second: squad and platoon LFX.
    - Third: LFX refires and additional training.

  • Platoon 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:

  • Reduce the number of crew practice tasks for crews who are stabilized and have qualified previously; give their ammunition to the new crews.
  • Reduce rounds per engagement on training and practice exercises.
  • Increase device-based training.
  • Use MILES in crew practice scenarios. MILES is not suitable for moving target engagements because the gunner does not have to apply lead to engage the target. BOT and TOT cannot be trained with MILES.

Near-Term Training Plan

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--

  • Final coordination of ranges, training areas, and ammunition.
  • Coordination between units for maintenance, medical, logistical, and personnel requirements.
  • Locking in and publishing unit training schedules.

Company and platoon meetings discuss the details of executing the training event; specifically--

  • When the training will be conducted, to include movement times to the training area.
  • Personnel involved in the training event (highlight key individuals responsible to conduct training).
  • Training location, uniform, and special equipment required to conduct training.
  • Specific personnel performance measures to be evaluated.

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.

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