Infantry: October 9, 2004

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In the next year, the U.S. Army is planning to give transitional training to 3,200 men and women transferring from the navy and air force, or returning to active duty after more than a few years of being out of uniform. The navy and air force are currently laying of 24,000 people (a third of them navy), and all have the option to basically transfer to the army with little or no loss of rank or benefits. The big difference is lifestyle, especially during wartime. The army is doing most of the fighting overseas, and all the transferred troops go through a four week Warfighter Refresher Course at Ft Knox, Kentucky. As the name implies, the Warfighter Refresher Course concentrates on the basic infantry training that everyone gets in the army, but that no one in the navy or air force receives.

The trainees are not treated like raw recruits, because they arent. Some have over ten years service in the air force or navy. But they do have to learn how to use army weapons, and how to live, and fight, in the field. There is also training on convoy security. About half of the people graduating from the Warfighter Refresher Course will be going to units that will shortly be in Afghanistan or Iraq. Nearly all of the transfer troops are in non-combat jobs, but in places like Iraq, just driving down a road can land you in a firefight. Some army officers have expressed doubts that four weeks is sufficient training for the transferees. But four weeks covers all the combat related stuff army troops receive in basic. Moreover, non-combat units getting ready to move to Iraq or Afghanistan receive additional training.

 


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