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Grooming Proficient Weapon Marksmen in the Air Force 

Grooming Proficient Weapon Marksmen in the Air Force 

To enhance professionalism, groom proficient marksmen and reduce accidents from weaponhandling, Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that the Logistics Command of the Nigerian Airforce recently held its annual Small Arms Range Classification exercise 

As part of efforts to enhance proficiency in marksmanship, the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) recently held an exercise to master shooting and Small Arms Range Classification for 3037 airmen and airwomen.

During the training,  personnel fired shots from  five meters, 10 meters and 15 meters using pistols while long range shots were also practiced from 200meters to test their marksmanship in one of the oldest programmes in the military.

Marksmanship Proficiency 

Speaking at the 2022 HQ Logistics Command Small Arms Range Classification Exercise at the 81 Division Shooting Range, Owode, in Ogun State, the Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal, (AVM) Emmanuel Shobande stated that the exercise was to help officers perfect their shooting skills.

He said: “Marksmanship is an important skill for every military personnel. History teaches us two deep and important lessons about marksmanship, the first is that it is an acquired skill only developed through practice and training.”

Combat Readiness 

He posited that mastering the use of weapons also instill in officers the confidence for combat readiness and such high level of readiness is needed at all times as NAF conducts single and joint operations to battle insurgency and other pockets of insecurity in the country.

He said: “The second is that the battlefield is an unforgiving environment; thus proficiency in weapon handling cannot be discountenanced as one of the essential qualities for survival in real combat.

“For this reason, all NAF personnel undergo rigorous and frequent training to help them become proficient marksmen.

“The officers will be afforded deliberate shooting opportunities to prove their skills. This is because of the varieties of firing positions and weapon types which each participant will be exercised.

“Additionally, the planned inter-unit shooting competition to end the exercise will further project professionalism and efficiency in line with global best practices in small arms classification.”

Noting that the expected training outcome of the exercise is that the lessons learnt would be rewarding in the field, the AVM had encouraged every participant to take advantage of the unique opportunity to enhance their weapon handling proficiency and knowledge.

He had equally advised instructors not to compromise any aspect of the training requirements in order not to erode objectives of the exercise with attendant negative consequences on NAF operational efficiency.

AVM Shobande appreciated the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao, for his visionary leadership and approval for the exercise which is in tandem with purposeful training and human capacity development in support of NAF operations.Range Classification
The exercise as the name implies put personnel to test at the shooting range in terms  of accuracy of shots and efficiency in handling weapons.

Therefore, to ensure that the Nigerian Air Force personnel, especially those drafted to battle insurgency and other pockets of insecurity, are combat ready, the need to constantly train and retrain them especially in weapon handling for improved shooting skills and professional efficiency in line with global best practices, came with the recent range classification exercise.

Also, the exercise is aimed at developing personnel intuitive skills and response initiative under battle-like conditions. 

Undoubtedly, such firing exercises are designed to ensure a combat- ready force, better positioned to tackle contemporary challenges and as such, the aim of the exercise is usually to test the proficiency of officers and men in the command.

Also, the operation is deemed as a form of fitness exercise, which in turn leads to physically fit officers and men. The firing exercise is also important and strategic to air power operations so that whenever they are deployed for operations, they will not see the weapons they are carrying as a visitor.

It is noteworthy to state that it also exerts discipline on the men because once a weapon is handed over to you, it takes discipline to control your anger and not respond wrongly. The end goal however is that the lesson learnt from the exercise would be a rewarding one in the field.

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