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Training Stinger Teams

To be effective, training must prepare Stinger teams to perform a wide variety of tasks in combat. To have proficient Stinger teams, adequate time must be made available to conduct realistic training during tactical field exercises. Enough time must also be made available to conduct refresher training in weapon handling and practice engagements. A training program for Stinger personnel must be well planned. It must also remain flexible. Mission needs may dictate that a short, intensified program be conducted. However, the goal is still to develop and maintain Stinger gunner and team skills at a high level. This chapter discusses some factors to consider in training to reach that goal. Planning and preparing military training are covered in FM 21-6.
The Stinger section/platoon's parent unit commander has the authority and responsibility for planning, directing, conducting, and supervising training. He trains his teams to the highest degree of operational readiness allowed by the availability of personnel, equipment, time, funds, facilities, operational requirements, and installation support required. He accomplishes this by using his officers and NCOs to schedule and conduct planned training.


Training Assessment

Performance-Oriented Training

Stinger Training Program

Individual and Team Training

Tactical Training


The Stinger platoon's parent unit commander has the authority and responsibility for planning, directing, conducting and supervising training.


The commander assesses the proficiency of the unit and individual based on--

  • Personal observation.

  • Sampling techniques.

  • Performance tests.

  • Field exercises.

  • Soldier's skill qualification tests (SQT).

  • Army Training and Evaluation Programs (ARTEP).

    This assessment is essential to the success of the training program for Stinger teams and is used to identify training needed.


    To determine each individual's proficiency analyze his experience level, including results of previous training of the individual team members in his assigned position.

    Evaluate the overall training level of the section. Conduct maintenance inspections, equipment operating tests, operational readiness training tests (ORTT), field exercises, and crew drills.

    Review results of the last SQT and ARTEP to see if any deficiencies surface because of poor team performance.


    To determine what training will be necessary to meet required training standards compare results of the gunner's current proficiency with the required training standards contained in the soldier's manual.

    Find out the levels of training required to bring personnel up to the proper standards.


    To determine how much time is available to achieve the required standards examine the section's overall mission requirements and other obligations. Evaluate how much training needs to be done.


    To determine what resources are required to train members refer to--

  • Chapter 13, Stinger Training Devices and Materials, for innovative solutions to overcome possible shortfalls.

  • Results of the latest ARTEP as an indicator of training resources required for further training.

  • Unacceptable scores received on the latest SQT.

  • Previous training experiences of the section indicating previous resources used.


    To determine what resources are available to conduct gunner training,--

  • Inventory section equipment and evaluate its readiness.

  • Determine what assistance is available from supporting units and higher headquarters.

  • Examine available training facilities.

  • Reconcile all considerations.

    Differences between resources required and resources available will affect both the time required to conduct the training and the section's ability to meet the required standards.


    Training of both individuals and teams must be performance-oriented. To accomplish this, the commander/trainer must answer the following three questions when making a training program:

  • What is the soldier/team expected to do in combat (mission/task)?

  • Under what conditions is the mission/task to be performed (conditions)?

  • How well is it to be done (standards of performance)?

    The following example shows how the above questions would be used:

  • Task. Select and occupy a position.

  • Conditions. Team is given location, primary sector of search, and a 1:50,000 map of the area.

  • Standards.

    • Team chief conducts ground reconnaissance while the gunner maintains a ready status.

    • Team chief selects primary and alternate positions on the ground.

    • Team occupies primary position within 30 minutes.

    • Selected positions.

      • Are within given approximate location (within 100 meters of given coordinates).

      • Have clear fields of fire.

      • Have all-around observation, if possible.

      • Have access and egress routes.

      • Have safe backblast area.

      • Take advantage of available cover and concealment.

  • Hearing protection safe distance.

    The tasks, conditions, and training standards of proficiency are specified in appropriate training documents.


    The soldier's manual identifies, defines and describes individual tasks and standards of performance necessary for success on the battlefield. These tasks and standards, along with training guidance, provide the basis for training and evaluation of the individual soldier.


    The trainer's guide lists for the training manager the tasks the soldier must master to be proficient in his job and survive in combat. It also lists the source and location of training and supplemental training materials.


    Job books enable NCOs to monitor and keep a record of critical and common task proficiency for each of their soldiers. Job books are issued to each NCO supervisor for all soldiers in skill levels 1 and 2 under his supervision.


    The SQT is a written performance test designed to measure a soldier's ability to do his job. This skill (or written) component is like any written military test. It consists of a number of questions with multiple choice answers.


    An ARTEP provides guidance for collective training and evaluation. It identifies the mission, tasks, and conditions under which the tasks are to be performed and the proficiency of each unit. The Stinger ARTEP is a common module for units receiving Stinger support.


    The goal of the training program is to maintain Stinger team, section and platoon skills throughout the training year. The program achieves its goals through continuous reinforcement training. It is composed of the following:

  • Weekly crew drills.

  • Monthly moving target simulator (MTS) training.

  • Quarterly MTS gunner qualification.

  • Quarterly live target tracking.

  • Annual simulator device firing.

  • Annual live firing.

  • Annual certification.


    The Stinger training program is designed to prevent team skills from deteriorating with time. It provides a mix of crew drill training, simulated firing, and live firing. Each type of training reinforces the other, and is an essential part of the overall training. The training program is based on two principles: train from simple to complex and train engagement skills repetitively.

    Begin with simple drill exercises using simulation devices and work to complex ARTEP evaluations. Precede live firings with firings of simulation devices.

    The skills taught in each step are repeated by use in succeeding steps.


    Schedule training well in advance and organize it to take advantage of existing time and resources. Training should be scheduled for a whole year. Detailed monthly training schedules should be prepared. This tells both leaders and soldiers how time is used, where training takes place, and the subject being taught. Also, it tells who is responsible for the training, what equipment is needed, what references are available, and what, if any, coordinating instructions are necessary. Prepare these schedules as far in advance as possible to insure all teams and individuals are prepared for training.


    Combat is difficult to simulate, but you cannot train good Stinger teams without simulating the pressures, noises, and other problems experienced in combat.


    Whenever possible, arrange to conduct tactical training with the units you will support in combat. Stinger teams must habitually work with the units they support.


    Do not waste time and effort by training in the skills your teams and soldiers have already mastered. Know where the weak areas are and train to correct them.


    When each member becomes proficient in his own job, train him to do the other team member's job. For example, train the gunner to operate the team radio.


    The soldier's manual is a key element in individual training. It serves as a basis for the SQT. By studying his manual, a Stinger team member can determine what makes up his SQT and how to prepare for it. The Stinger soldier's manual, FM 44-16S, identifies many MOS critical tasks.


    Mastering individual skills is the beginning of an effective Stinger team. Proficiency in these tasks insures that Stinger teams will be able to meet the threat's challenge. The tasks are broken into two groups. The first group is common tasks. These tasks must be mastered by all soldiers (see FMs 21-2 and 21-3). The second group contains those tasks required by duty positions or proficiency tasks (see FM 44-16S). When individual standards are met, the Stinger team and section must function together where Stinger gunnery and tactics are combined. Only after all Stinger personnel have been trained to perform these tasks at the required standards will the teams be able to effectively accomplish their mission on the battlefield.


    The training required for specific Stinger tasks can be found in the appropriate chapter or appendix of this manual.


    Tactical employment of Stinger requires the cooperative and timely efforts of all team members.


    Drills develop teamwork. They are used to develop automatic reaction where time is important. An example is a situation where a team must defend against aircraft making an attack against a convoy. Teams should practice the drills with the same precision as a well-executed football play. The drills are easy to prepare, can be conducted almost anywhere, and need last only 30 to 40 minutes. Crew drills are contained in appendix D.


    The terrain walk is a proven method of training. When used, it should be completed with leaders first and then with troops. It involves nothing more than a leader--any leader--taking his men on a tour (by foot or vehicle) over a predetermined route and discussing applications of various tactical principles and techniques along the route. The object is to give the team members an appreciation for various tactics or techniques in the employment of Stinger. An informal two-way questions and answer session is the most effective method. Few methods of training will implant tactical concepts better than a well-conducted terrain walk. For example, this terrain walk can be used to point out how a Stinger team can support a company team on a forward movement.


    The principal purpose for conducting a terrain model exercise is to reinforce the training each Stinger team member received in the classroom prior to undergoing a practical exercise in the field. The terrain model exercise is really a small tactical exercise in which each man can see how he fits into the whole picture. The terrain model exercise permits the leader to--

  • Discuss the role of the supported unit, adjacent units, and other units connected with the field exercise.

  • State the mission of the section and teams.

  • Discuss unit SOPs for actions on contact, security, occupying positions.

  • Ask questions of each team member.

  • Point out terrain features which attack helicopters can slip behind and then attack friendly armored vehicles.

  • Answer questions and clear up any misconceptions.

  • Use scale model vehicles.


    Another way to train the Stinger teams and section is the field training exercise (FTX). This exercise should be conducted under complete tactical conditions so that all aspects of training are exercised. The FTX obviously requires more training and preparation than the previous methods. It requires a scenario, an operation order (OPORD), and control personnel. The best way to start the exercise is with an alert and movement to an assembly area. From this point it can take any form you desire, depending on your training needs. Chapter 17 tells you how to plan for, conduct and participate in a FTX.

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