From an email sent to the KYSRPA dated December 19, 2007
I just wanted to tell you that after several months of planning, collecting information, and fabricating targets my team and I
wrapped up a very successful range. We called it the Fish Hook (Team Call Sign) Long Range training event and we
could not have done this without your help. As most of you know I am the Senior Infantry Advisor for an 18 man Afghan
Border Police mentor team. My team is made up of Senior NCOs (SFCs and 1 MSG) and Officers (CPTs and 1 MAJ).
We have been here in Spin Buldak, Afghanistan since January of this year and we are almost finished with our tour here.
My team and I live in an old SF Fire Base on the Border of Pakistan. Spin Buldak is the 2nd largest border crossing point
in all of Afghanistan. The “Friendship Gate”, believe me not so friendly, takes in a very large portion of the countries
revenues through import taxes. We have mentored the Afghan Border Police who are tasked with trying to secure the
borders of this country. Our sector alone covers 500 KM of Border, "no that’s not a typo"! As you know the “Big Dance”
is in Iraq so those of us in Afghanistan are left to play 2nd Fiddle for resources and manpower. To say the least this year
has been challenging but we are in the home stretch now. What we did today was a result of each of your time and efforts
in helping us put together this event. Obviously, I would have loved to do this range earlier this year but training ammo in
Afghanistan was in short supply for most of our deployment. However, I would like to give a special thanks to
Mr. Mark Mann for all of his help in squaring me away with the right data and a superb course format.
If you don’t know Mark, he is a “Marksmanship Guru”, who works with the Kentucky State Rifle and Pistol Association
and is also an instructor for the Squad Designated Marksmanship Program.
Additionally, LTC Liwang, thank you for all the info on constructing a KD range while deployed.
Your article in “Infantry Magazine”, was a great help and you will see many similarities in our range and your article.
Also, Maj Cloft, thank you for sending the ballistic cards and all the other ballistic data. To all the folks at Ft. Campbell
Range Safety, thank you for being so helpful in ensuring that we executed this training event safely and that we were
setup using the right SDZs and safety precautions.
I would also like to thank the Army Marksmanship Unit for posting their curriculum on AKO so that we could have an
excellent classroom portion.
Last but definitely not least, I would like to thank the highly professional NCOs that I have had the privilege of working
with on this project, SFC John Giles, SFC Lee Picket, SFC Brian Lamberton, and SFC Steve Steger. Gentlemen,
thank you for your never ending support and commitment to see this thing to come to completion. There is no way I
could have done this without you. I will also ask that you all keep SFC Giles in your prayers, he will be heading back
soon for unsuspected reasons. We ask that you remember him and his family and for his safe return stateside.
“G” this place will never be the same without you. Safe travels Friend and God Speed.
The event started yesterday with a 2 hour classroom portion in which the NCOs I mentioned gave their respected classes.
To say the least, many of my peers had the 1,000m stare at first as we delved into formulas on MOA, zeroing, wind shift,
and wind speed. Day 1 ended with a 200m Field Zero in which, of the 15 people involved, only 3 people had ever
conducted a Field Zero on their service rifle. Day 2 started today standing at the 100m line. Our target was MK19 ammo
cans painted red and each man was paired with a spotter. The spotter and shooter took turns firing 4 groups of 10 rounds
at the targets for every station. The groups continued to the 200m line in which they shot in the kneeling position
Next was the 300m and 400m in the prone unsupported and we finished the stations at the 500m line firing from the prone
Next was the estimate range event. Shooters were given 5 rounds in which to engage 3 targets. Each target had a given
amount of time based on its range, which was only known by the coach. The shooter had to quickly estimate range,
adjust sights accordingly, switch positions, estimate wind speed, and transition from target to target within the given time.
Any average interation involved a shooter engaging a 600m target, 500m target and 150m target in 56 secs.
The culmination event was the competition. Shooters were given 10 rounds at each station with a given time for each range.
The time values were as follows, 100m standing (4 sec x 10 for 40 secs), 200m kneeling (5 sec x 10 for 50 sec), 300m
and 400m prone unsupported (6 and 9 sec, respectively, x 10 for 60 sec and 90 sec), and finally the 500m prone supported
(10 sec x 10 for 100 sec). After shooting 350 rounds per shooter and 2 hours of classroom instruction our high score was
33 of 50. This may not seem like much but we spotted the “hit” or “miss” with optics. As you all know at 400m and 500m
that can be difficult in sandy terrain, so our scores may have been a few rounds short but it was a great completion none the less.
Our final range layout was a group of 3 targets at each given range. The 100m had MK 19 cans, painted red, the 200m
Steel F-type targets, and the 300m, 400m, and 500m targets were Steel E-Type targets. We had a lot more participation
than expected and the course was a huge success.
As you know, Afghanistan’s terrain offers many more opportunity for longer engagements so this was a long overdue and
much needed training event. We will be conducting a handover soon so this range gives our Fire Base the capability for
conducting long range training any given day of the week with minimal assets. The course was so successful that we will
be teaching these techniques to a Canadian Reconnaissance Company next week.
Once again thank you for your patience and perseverance while we put this all together. On behalf of my team I would like to say
Thank You and you have given us what every Soldier wants, and that is confidence that he can do what is asked of him and be
the very best at it.
To quote Mark Mann’ “There is no substitute for good Marksmanship”
CPT Matt McDonald
Senior Infantry Advisor