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Soldiers conduct platoon live-fire lanes

Apr 27, 2010

By Staff Sgt. Matt Meadows

CAMP GUERNSEY, Wyo. -- Building on previous off-post training and leading into a culminating force-on-force event, Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment conducted a platoon live-fire exercise at Camp Guernsey, Wyo. April 17.

First Lt. Richard Lovering, acting commander of Troop C, 3-89 Cav., said the training objective was to get his Soldiers used to moving in platoon formations and engaging the enemy with live rounds. The mission he gave the Soldiers was to clear a route in preparation for a commander's Key Leader Engagement (KLE) in a village at the end of the training lane.

"This is a culmination of all the ranges we have done in the past two weeks or so," said Spc. Michael Kapavik, assistant team leader for Troop C's 2nd Platoon. "It allows us to put together everything that we have learned at every previous range (for) the entire piece (of training at Camp Guernsey) in one fluid motion."

The platoon live-fire lane incorporated aspects of previous range training, including a known-distance range, a multi-purpose machinegun range and a modified record fire range. The lane was a prelude to the Soldiers' final training event at Camp Guernsey: a force-on-force exercise.

"For my team, it is a good start to know our jobs, our individual roles and the roles of those above us and (gives us) a good feeling for the terrain, which is pretty rough," said Kapavik. "It is definitely more difficult than doing it at home, but it's a good challenge to be shown what you possibly have in store for you (when you deploy). It is nothing impossible, nothing we can't overcome."

An assistant team leader's responsibilities mostly consist of taking care of his Soldiers, said Kapavik. Those duties include making sure that all of their needs are met such as ensuring they have water, enough rest and all of the equipment they need to have with them. A team leader should not let his Soldiers go out on a mission without something they need, he should supervise them and, most importantly, he should bring them back home, he said.

Kapavik said his team performed outstanding during the platoon live-fire exercise. They met all of the standards, were always motivated and always were ready for more, he said.

"Any training will make you better, any training," said Kapavik. "I learned the importance of being a motivator and ... showing the rest of the guys that it (any given task) is (not) impossible."

Lovering said the value of Soldiers going downrange with live rounds is immense. Soldiers using live rounds and training as they fight offers a great opportunity, especially in conditions that closely resemble a combat environment.

"There are a lot of great training grounds for training on the ranges at Fort Polk, but none offer the altitude experience that Camp Guernsey does," said Lovering. "It's just been great training getting guys used to moving at higher altitudes in full battle rattle with live rounds."

Kapavik shares a similar view to Lovering when it comes to training for war. Camp Guernsey has terrain and altitude that will set up their unit for success when they deploy overseas later this year.

"I think the bottom line is that it's good to train how you are going to fight, and the best way to do that is to put yourself in as close a situation as you possibly can," said Kapavik. "I imagine this is as close as we could get (to Afghanistan)."

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