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High-Tech Training at Camp Curtis Guild 
 
U.S. Army Photo Pfc. Alfred Tripolone III, 65th Public Affairs Operations Center 
1st Lt. Adam Peterson, a platoon leader for the 181st Engineer Battalion, takes a turn practicing his marksmanship at the Engagement Skills Trainer at Camp Curtis Guild, March 21. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Alfred Tripolone III, 65th Public Affairs Operations Center)
By Army Pfc. Alfred Tripolone III, 65th Public Affairs Operations Center 

CAMP CURTIS GUILD, Mass. - Soldiers of the 181st Engineer Battalion trained using the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 here, March 21, in preparation for live-fire weapon qualification next month at Fort Devens.

The EST simulates weapon training events such as zeroing and grouping in preparation for live-fire qualification. It also has the capability to provide Soldiers training on a wide array of weapons, from the 9mm Beretta Pistol to the M-2 .50-caliber machine gun. The adaptability of the EST is ideal for units with limited time and resources needed to attend live ranges, yet still provides the benefits of practicing firing techniques. 

“The EST was reserved for the 181st Engineer Battalion because it is the most realistic way of training for live-firing without actually firing rounds,” said 1st Lt. Adam Peterson, a North Haven, Conn., native and human resources expert, who serves as a platoon leader with the 181st Engineers.

“Today the Soldiers are being trained in marksmanship with the M-16 in preparation for next month’s qualification on the live-fire ranges at Fort Devens,” said Peterson.

The EST is a huge step up from the older methods of practicing marksmanship,” said Spc. Mychal Grady, a Plymouth, Mass., native and University of Massachusetts - Boston student, who serves as a carpentry and masonry specialist with the 181st Engineers. “The EST is less likely to malfunction or have faulty pop-up targets than a live-fire range. There are some live-fire ranges where targets won’t come up, or even, when hit, wouldn’t go down.” 

A Soldier maintaining the skill to fire a weapon is vital to survival when deployed.

“More practice is always better,” Grady said. “When down range, it is important to be confident in the firing capability of the guy next to you.”

Units interested in scheduling the EST at Camp Curtis Guild should contact the Camp Curtis Guild Operations and Facility Management Team at (508) 233-7325.

4/1/2009