Men must be taught as if you taught them not. And things unknown proposed as things forgot. - Alexander Pope
The M16 transition is finally getting going in earnest. I'm still not sure I agree with the whole idea of replacing the venerable AK with the M16 for these guys. Seems I remember reading somewhere that we should train indigenous forces to mirror the enemy, not to mirror us. By giving them armored humvees and NATO weapons we're certainly making them look a lot like us, which would be great if the Afghan Army had any hope of supporting an army with such equipment. But I guess we'll do the supporting. Still...we've got plenty of soldiers of our own that can roll around in armored vehicles. What we need more of are lightly loaded guys that can go up into the mountains and ambush the enemy. The basic load for the Americans makes moving around in the mountains difficult to say the least. If it were me, I'd have the ANA up in the mountains with no equipment at all other than a weapon with ammo and some water...mirroring the insurgents. It takes a lot less food and water to support an Afghan...we need to take advantage of that by not weighing them down with body armor.
At any rate, we enjoy training them on the weapons systems. They're especially happy to be getting our machine guns. I usually spend the first 5 minutes of every class on the M16 'selling' it to them, as most of them are initially skeptical of why they need it. We tell them the M16 is better for a trained fighter, whereas the AK is better for the untrained guy...a not untrue statement. They seem to buy that explanation.
The rifle ranges are pretty fun with these guys. Some of the Afghans shoot better than I do, no question. We had a guy keyhole his first 3 shots at 25 meters the other day. It was easy to see he was going to shoot very well given his technique and demeanor but that was uncanny. Others...well, it takes awhile but we get them all in the vicinity of the target eventually even if they are hitting 'the four corners'. Our attached soldier from the Georgia National Guard seems to have more problems with his shooters than the marines do...a circumstance we exploit fully in poking fun at him. Coincidence? We think not. Haha. We get guys shooting left-eyed right-handed. Others close their eyes when the pull the trigger, and many like to yank the trigger. A couple of guys I've had look like they're hyperventilating when they go to shoot. If they can relax, they have some hope of hitting where they're aiming.
Certainly, the training environment is different over here. You do what you have to do to train. If a bunch of goats take up residence on the mountainside behind the range, just send a couple of ANA up there with rocks to throw at them to 'herd' them away. We try to keep the shooting going in situations that might not fly back home, but when two US Army lieutenants come out to the range to throw grenades and one of them doesn't detonate...well, you pretty much have to shut it down after that.