Army marksmanship shoots up 15% after online qualification

FORT BENNING, Ga. — In the wake of an Army Times report on abysmal force-wide marksmanship, Army leaders have returned fire with a quick solution to raise scores.

“After 15 years of non-stop deployments, we can’t expect our troops to be experienced in much more than salsa dancing and eating ice cream,” said Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence. “When we upgraded qualification ranges to the digital world, though, most soldiers showed minor improvement immediately.”

The new qualification option is going viral, according to Miller. “If the computer ranges are down for any reason, we also have a paper qualification range, where soldiers simply poke holes in the silhouettes with a pen. Most soldiers can get a pretty good score on that one, if they don’t miss.”

Naturally, the new computer ranges experience a few setbacks. “Some soldiers can’t tell what lane they’re in, so they try to click on the monitor next to them,” Miller conceded. “Mouse button jams don’t help, and it’s really hard to shoot from the kneeling position in a rolling office chair.”

“I love it,” commented Spc. Gary Newhouse, who had never qualified on real ranges without sneaking extra ammo onto the lane. “I just can’t wait until the fitness test goes online too.”

Some soldiers, however, have suffered a drop in marksmanship since the change. “I miss the outdoor range,” said Sgt. Buck Buckheim, polishing his Expert Rifleman badge after removing it from his dress uniform. “I always click through online training as fast as I can. I can’t help it. I barely passed on my fourth try.”

Miller’s conclusion is that online shooting more accurately reflects the modern battlefield. “Cyberwar is far more common than physical combat,” mused Miller. “How can we stop Chinese hackers in ISIS chat rooms without being able to shoot their faces when we find them in the computer?”