Longer Armor Training Increase Skills, Lethality
by U.S. Army Franklin Fisher, Fort Benning PAO
October 21, 2020
When Soldiers just out of Armor training are sent to the Army's
tank and scout forces, they'll arrive more fully trained, more
lethal with their weapons, and more physically fit, officials in
charge of their training say.
The gains in
skill, lethality and fitness have come about because the Army
lengthened Armor One-Station Unit Training, or Armor OSUT, to 22
weeks, say the officials, who are senior leaders in the 194th
Armored Brigade, which produced the video. The longer training span
began last fall.
The brigade trains the Army's tank crew
members, known by their Army job code of 19 Kilo, and cavalry
scouts, coded 19 Delta.
September 2, 2020 - A column of eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicles move along a road at Fort Benning during training for students enrolled in the Scout Leader Course. The Stryker, along with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the
Humvee, is one of the combat vehicles that cavalry scouts may serve with when they complete their training. The training period for both cavalry scouts and Armor crewmen was extended to 22 weeks with the longer span resulting in Soldiers being more proficient, more lethal, and more physically fit than shorter training periods. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning Public Affairs)
Armor OSUT for armor crewmen had been 15 weeks long. For cavalry
scouts it had been 17 weeks.
"When we look at the different
conditions, or I should say considerations, of lethality: mental,
physical toughness, vehicle proficiency, and field craft and
discipline, we've been able to increase not only the rigor but we've
also been able to increase the proficiency, especially on vehicle
platforms," Col. Dawson A. Plummer, the brigade's commander, says in
Among training gains that benefit Armor crewmen
and cavalry scouts alike, according to the video, are:
- Time to be trained and certified in the Army's Combat
- Training and certification in basic hand-to-hand fighting
skills known as Level 1 Combatives
- Greater lethality through more extensive weapons training
- Higher physical fitness levels through a greater number of
fitness sessions using the Army's rigorous Army Combat Fitness
Test, or ACFT.
- More time for learning use of map and compass, known as land
- More field training that hones basic battlefield skills
In addition, for Armor crewmen, the longer OSUT is affording more
thorough training in:
- Driving the M1 Abrams tank
- Preventive maintenance of the tank
- Tank gunnery
For cavalry scouts, the extended OSUT also allows for:
- A chance to get familiar with all three of the combat
vehicles they might eventually be assigned to work with: the
eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicle, Bradley Fighting Vehicle,
- Basic preventive maintenance of combat vehicles
- Use of radio
For Armor crewmen, the transition to a longer OSUT means Soldiers
are trained beyond mere familiarity, to proficiency, Lt. Col.
Nathaniel B. Davis, commander of the brigade's 1st Battalion, 81st
Armor Regiment, says in the video.
"The intent behind the
transition is to change from where we had been producing Armor
crewmen who were familiar as drivers, loaders and gunners, to ones
that are competent and proficient as drivers and loaders, familiar
as gunners, and ready to contribute at their first unit of
assignment," Davis says.
"As we made the transition from 15-
to 22-week OSUT, we focused our efforts on a number of key areas:
increasing maintenance tasks, increasing gunnery skills training and
testing, increasing the amount and rigor of field training, and
increasing the amount and rigor of driver training," Davis says.
Driver training has increased "significantly," he says.
"This has resulted in an increase in simulated miles from 62 to 65,
but more importantly, in live miles, from 34 live miles –15 of which
are in and around the motor pool – to 50 live miles, of which the
same 15 are in and around the motor pool," he says.
cavalry scouts too, the focus is on giving them a solid foundation
in skills they'd need in combat, Lt. Col. Ricarlos M. Caldwell,
commander, 2nd Squadron, 15th Cavalry Regiment says in the video.
The squadron is one of two in the brigade that trains Soldiers to
become cavalry scouts. The other is the 5th Squadron, 15th Cavalry
"With the increase in global competition and the
lethality of our peer and near-peer threats, the intent of the
22-week 19 Delta OSUT is to create a cavalry scout that is lethal,
physically fit, proficient in the reconnaissance and security
skills, and is prepared to deploy day one upon arrival at their
first unit of assignment," says Caldwell.
program has afforded us the opportunity to focus on lethality, field
craft, discipline, physical fitness, mental toughness and vehicle
proficiency," he says.
Fitness has benefited through an
increase in the number of physical readiness training, or PRT,
sessions, says Caldwell.
"The additional five weeks in the
22-week OSUT program has allowed us to really drill down on physical
fitness training," he says. "Our scouts are now receiving an
additional 22 PRT sessions. We've increased the road march mileage
from 53 to 83.
"What we're seeing now is our scouts are
graduating at a much higher physical fitness level," Caldwell says.
The video was one of several warfighting-related videos
available for viewing during the 2020 Virtual Maneuver Warfighter
Conference, held online Sept. 9-10 by Fort Benning's U.S. Army
Maneuver Center of Excellence.
MCoE trains Soldiers for
service with the Armor and Infantry branches, which together make up
the Army's maneuver force. It also trains those hoping to become
paratroopers, Rangers, snipers, and others seeking to qualify in
various military specialties.
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