Crash Course in Combat

Giving the Salvadorans some American basic training

Hunched down in concrete foxholes, the officers and NCOs fingered the triggers of their M-16s as instructors stood behind, monitoring the shooting exercise. Then came the command to fire: "Comienzen fuego."

Normally, the men in the foxholes at Fort Bragg, N.C., would be American G.I.s. But these were Spanish-speaking members of the Salvadoran army taking part in a novel experiment. The soldiers are among 1,466 members of the 15,000-man Salvadoran force who are starting to receive a crash course in basic U.S. Army fighting skills at two of...

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