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Rifle Course's First Shots: Changes intensifying Air Force marksmanship training to prepare airmen better for ground combat have become mandatory across the force. "As with any change for both instructors and students, we are learning more with each new class," said SMSgt. Aaron Thieken, 37th Training Support Squadron superintendent at JB San Antonio, Tex. "This is a major departure from the previous course most of us are familiar with." The unit wasted no time in implementing these changes to the rifle qualification course, which the Air Force announced in September, ahead of the Dec. 1 deadline. The new course is focused on combat skills and surviving firefights outside the base environment, in addition to marksmanship. Reviews of it have been uniformly flattering. Requiring the best part of a 12 hour-day, the only routine criticism by students thus far has been the course's length, according to trainers. (Lackland report by TSgt. Joseph Sanchez)