Soldiers train under pressure in stress shoot exercise

Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course students prepare to add weight for a stress shoot to determine how carrying weight influences performance in marksmanship. (Photos by Gerald Williams)

Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course students prepare to add weight for a stress shoot to determine how carrying weight influences performance in marksmanship. (Photos by Gerald Williams)

By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /

Soldiers with the Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, Class 08-16, were put to the test as they performed a stress shoot at Simpson Range Sept. 2.

According to Dan Georgia, research staff member for the Institute for Defense Analysis, the purpose of the stress shoot was to determine how carrying weight influences a Soldier’s performance in marksmanship.

A heavy platoon Soldier and a light platoon Soldier run side by side during the stress shoot Sept. 2 at Simpson Range. (Photos by Gerald Williams)

A heavy platoon Soldier and a light platoon Soldier run side by side during the stress shoot Sept. 2 at Simpson Range.

Staff Sgt. Jared Erickson, A Company, 2nd Bn., 11th Inf. Reg., instructor for the stress shoot, explained to the class that the exercise would begin with two platoons: light armor and heavy armor. A Soldier from each platoon would run parallel to each other for half a mile and run back. They would then head toward an obstacle course that required them to climb over a six-foot wall, pull a 270-pound Skedco and shoot at targets on Simpson Range.

After the shoot was done, Soldiers returned to the starting point to have their heart rate checked to see if there were any differences between light and heavy platoons, said Erickson.

Georgia stated that while heartbeat differences may seem obvious between light and heavy platoons, the data collected would be instrumental in showing government agencies evidence of Soldier variation so that they may institute a change in what materials would be necessary to carry with regards to weight.

IBOLC students add weight to their load during an exercise designed to determine performance for a stress shoot Sept. 2 at Simpson Range. (Photos by Gerald Williams)

IBOLC students add weight to their load during an exercise designed to determine performance for a stress shoot Sept. 2 at Simpson Range.

“The heavy platoon will be carrying approximately 83 pounds while the light platoon will only carry their M4,” said Georgia. “It’s going to be very difficult for Soldiers to feel comfortable firing with all that [weight] on their back and their score is going to suffer for it.”

Erickson stated the standard weight for a Soldier depended on the position.

“The standard rifleman has about 70 pounds of weight added to them. However, if you’re a machine gunner, you’re upwards of about 110-140 pounds,” said Erickson.

The goal was to get Soldiers as light as possible before combat, said Georgia.

“If I know the enemy is nearby, I’m not going to be wearing all of this stuff. You can’t run, you can’t pursue and you can get shot. You’re a sitting duck. Only go forward with what you absolutely need to kill the enemy with.”

“In terms of developing leaders, this is one more experience Soldiers can receive and have the ability to transform and mold it into effect when they get into their platoons,” said Erickson. “If they have a general concept of why they’re doing this, then they will remember it as a future platoon leader who may establish training events.

“If you can shoot effectively with a higher heart rate then you can be a more lethal and precise Soldier,” said Erickson. “When you deploy, your heart rate is elevated. The adrenaline is up so your heartbeat is going faster. To me, this type of event is great.”

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