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Minnesota National Guard
Norwegians, Croatians train with U.S. M4 Rifle at Ripley

CAMP RIPLEY, Minn -- With only one day to become familiar with US weapons, more than half of the Norwegian Home Guard Rapid Reaction Force and Croatian soldiers training at Camp Ripley qualified with the M4 carbine rifle Feb 13, 2011

Two shooters tied with scores of 39 out of 40, qualifing them as expert marksmen

The US Army's method of qualification is very different from what the Norwegian Home Guard soldiers and Croatian soldiers are used to, according to Lt Jostein Austlid of the Norwegian Home Guard

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He explained that he is accustomed to a known-distance qualification course, with similar ranges, from 50 to 300 meters  Austlid, who normally scores near the lower end of qualification scores, did much better at Ripley's range

"This makes shooting fun and very realistic," said Austlid, who qualified expert with a score of 39 "I like how the different targets pop up at different ranges"

After qualification, the Norwegian and Croatian soldiers continued their training at the range with reflexive firing, an introduction to room clearing and a practical exercise at the shoot house This is part of the Army's "craw, walk, run" training philosophy, according to Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Haige, RRF, non-commissioned officer in charge

"Everything starts out in the classroom, then the practical exercise before the live-fire exercise," he said

The classroom and range fire can be considered the crawl phase and the stage they are currently in would be the walk stage with clearing rooms

The members of the RRF will continue using the crawl, walk, run philosophy throughout training, to prepare them for an unknown final "run" event scheduled for next week  The members of the unit will not be told what they will have to complete until the day before the event

By Sgt Daryl G Sanford
Minnesota National Guard
Feb 15, 2011

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