from John Tate

“Military actions are distilled down to shooting, moving, and communicating.”

“The most dynamic of the basics is shooting, and shooting well requires technique, accuracy, effect on target, and an understanding of what you are shooting at. This is a complex skill set, including everything from rifles/artillery to submarine-launched precision-guided missiles and close air support. Those that are doing the shooting and those that are directing the shooting need to be trained and exercised constantly.”

On a related note: Have you ever shot a Highpower match where (for example at 600 yds) the fog/haze/rain was so dense that your couldn’t clearly see your target? So you use a “berm hold” for elevation. Or, same distance, the wind exceeded your rifle’s windage, and you had to aim at the next target over? These are both examples of off-set aim points; attack aircraft crews use the same techniques when using RADAR significant objects as aim points with bomb navigation corrections that will achieve a hit on the intended target.

Every artillery officer knows the effect of wind(s) at altitude(s) on ballistics.

Over-the-horizon targeting can employ similar relational aiming techniques.

My point, the comment of aiming being “a complex skill set” is fully on target. And having all warriors skilled in small arms will likely have positive transfer to other warfare skills.

The service of the author, LTC Ray McFall, USMC (1986 – 2008), overlapped with that of Gen A.M. Gray’s tour as commandant (1987–91). You may remember, Gen Gray said, “every Marine is a rifleman.” That philosophy may have been impressed on McFall during his formative years. But even as a sailor, I’m firmly of the belief that every warrior should be confidently competent with small arms and thus his basic psyche permeated with the skill and will to kill.

Here’s hoping Mattis can return our military to a fighting force with only that focus.