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Story by Spc. Harrison Moore,
133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The new Individual Weapons Qualification (IWQ)
for Soldiers is expected to begin October 1, 2020, or fiscal year 2021.
In light of that, many Kentucky National Guard Soldiers were sent
to a “Train the Trainer” courses in order to instruct and prepare their units
for the new requirements.
Among those Soldiers was Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Gimple with the
438th Military Police Company.
deployment in 2008, Gimple was influenced by a great mentor who was a weapons
emphasized how important it is to effectively operate and handle your weapon in
that type of environment,” said Gimple. “He would say the grass was greener on
the other side once you really understand how to use your equipment with
precisely the goal with the new Individual Weapons Qualification (IWQ) for
Soldiers which is expected to begin October 1, 2020.
Gimple has served over 15 years and is currently a platoon sergeant with the 438th in Murray, Ky. and he strives to educate his troops on the new requirements and changes they should expect.
will be a lot faster paced and will require Soldiers to be even more confident
and comfortable with their weapons,” said Gimple.
qualification, “The Legacy Qual” as it’s called, in total took about 20 minutes
from start to finish. The new test will only allow for just under four minutes.
Due to the
increased speed of the new weapons qualification, physical fitness will play a
larger role in how Soldiers can best prepare themselves.
“Soldiers must be even more physically fit,
tactically competent, and situationally aware to successfully qualify,” said
Staff Sgt. Zachary Kasey, a physical fitness instructor with the 238th
attended the four-day “Train the Trainer” course which instructed NCO’s on how
to prepare Soldier’s in their units for the upcoming changes.”
with the new Army Combat Fitness Test and IWQ is similar in that they strive to
make Soldiers more combat ready,” said Kasey.
Part of the
change is that Soldiers will now be required to hit at least one 300-meter
target to earn the title of expert. This effectively raises the standards of
marksmanship which is a core skill for all Guardsmen.
imperative for units to train Soldiers during drill on warrior tasks and battle
drills to give them the hands-on training they need,” said Gimple. “I think the
real benefit will come about a year or so into it when Soldiers have had time
to train and build confidence in their tactics.”
physical fitness where some Soldiers lack in an area like running or lifting,
when it comes to marksmanship some struggle in areas like improper trigger
squeeze or a faulty sight picture.
Soldier has at least one weakness and they need to work on sharpening their
dull axe to make them better fighters. You can’t just only rely on your sharp
axes,” said Kasey. “The idea is to make our troops more well-rounded.”
now have up to four targets at once pop-up whereas the old qualification at
most had two. This instills the need to react much faster and make accurate
decisions on the fly.
There will no
longer be communication from the upper towers to Soldiers mandating when they
can change magazines of firing positions. Rather, they will be responsible for
maneuvering positions and acquiring targets on their own at a much faster rate.
shooting behind a barrier will also provide a learning curve. The barrier has notches
like stairsteps that Soldiers will use to support their weapon.
challenge will be accepting the change, but it creates the reps and sets we
need among the force to maintain lethality,” said Kasey.
to prepare for the upcoming changes by continuing to train for the ACFT. They
also need to execute weapons functions checks and become comfortable with
handling their weapons.
new standards for IWQ will strengthen our force and help us to always be ready
and always be there,” said Kasey.
should be proactive during drill and seek the expertise of those trained to
teach the new qualification standards,” said Gimple. “I am proud to have the
opportunity to teach the next generation how to operate their weapon and defend