Space and Missile Defense School runs pilot Ground-based Midcourse Defense Master Gunner Course

May 15, 2019

DVIDS – The term master gunner is used across the Army to designate noncommissioned officers who are technical experts of their assigned weapons system. The primary function of the master gunner is to assist in the planning, development, execution and evaluation of weapons-related training for their unit.

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense School conducted the pilot Master Gunner Course for Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) at Schriever Air Force Base March 22 through April 12. This course is meant to test and expand the knowledge of tenured Ground-based Midcourse Defense Fire Control (GFC) system operators to improve unit readiness and capability.

“The master gunner must be an expert in all things GMD, specifically how the fire control system works below the deck plate,” said William Spriggs, lead instructor of the Master Gunner Course . “Given the nature of our business, and how often the system is upgraded, the master gunner needs to be one of the Soldiers in the unit who can look forward to the changes and, based on a sound understanding of the weapon system as is, make recommendations to the command and crews on how best to use the changes in defense of the homeland.”

Ground-based Midcourse Defense is an integral part of the Department of Defense’s Ballistic Missile Defense System and relies on a complex architecture of global sea-, land- and space-based sensors to survey the sky and space for enemy missiles that threaten the United States and defended areas. If an enemy warhead is determined to be a threat, ground-based interceptors will be launched to intercept it.

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