Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team learned to take the history and techniques of their forefathers and become better fighters when volunteer instructors for Project Appleseed came to Fort Drum on Aug. 17-19.
“Project Appleseed is sponsored by a nonprofit organization, the Revolutionary War Veterans Association,” said Staff Sgt. John Hawes, a marksmanship instructor with Project Appleseed. “We are all volunteers; we use our own time to teach civilians and military marksmanship and the history of the Revolutionary War.”
Instructors at Project Appleseed believe that the core values and history of the nation benefit the country and the Soldiers today.
“We teach the importance of marksmanship (and that) the sacrifices the Soldiers are making (today) are the same as in the Revolutionary War,” Hawes said.
With the belief that history and techniques used in the past can benefit Soldiers today, the class was open to everyone in 3rd BCT who wanted to participate.
“This training teaches us the history of the first Americans and the importance of their accuracy (in combat),” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Demler, personal security detail noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
Most Soldiers learn how to shoot at maximum distances of 300 meters. Soldiers in the four-day course shoot at 400- and 500-meter targets.
“(This helps) familiarize Soldiers with long-distance shooting,” Demler said. “We are engaging targets up to 500 meters with just standard weapons. Nearly all the engagements that occur in Afghanistan are at 500 meters and beyond, so it’s important to be accurate.”
To help improve marksmanship, Soldiers learned how to shoot without being supported by any sandbags or rocks, just your weapon’s sling for support. Soldiers also learned how to analyze the shot and how to shoot.
“All we are really doing is bringing back a course of fire our forefathers used,” Hawes said. “One thing that made Americans superior to the British was (marksmanship).”
Not only was the training informative, but beneficial to combat operations.
“The importance of this for the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan (is that most of the) engagements are long distance,” Hawes said.