July 2, 2001
The Army wants to reorganize infantry training to eliminate the problem of troops so specialized they can only do one thing. Currently, there are four different infantry courses:
@ 11B traditional light infantry
@ 11C mortar gunners
@ 11H TOW missile gunners
@ 11M Bradley dismount infantry.
The courses are so specialized that after a new recruit takes one of them, he is never sent to a different kind of unit. Troops taught to fight from the back of a Bradley are never taught the light infantry mission, and troops taught the light infantry mission are never taught how to operate from a Bradley. While some of the differences are common sense, the nuances of the different missions are never taught. Under the new system, the 11M and 11H courses would be eliminated, while troops taking the 11B course would be given the additional training to learn the 11H and 11M missions. (Mortar crews are so specialized that they must be trained separately.) Because the 11B course cannot be made longer, troops sent to firing ranges will use the time they are waiting for their turn to shoot to take various classes, freeing up time to take the missile and Bradley training. Two new three-week courses will provide specialized Bradley and missile training to sergeants who are being reassigned from light units.--Stephen V Cole