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Red Dragons train for the fight

Oct 12, 2010

By Spc. Justin Naylor, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.

FORT HOOD, Texas -- Although not every Soldier in the Army is an infantryman, they are still expected to know how to act in a combat environment.

For the Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Oct. 6 was an opportunity to get outside of their traditional military jobs and get back to training on the basics of moving as a squad and reacting to contact during training, here, on Fort Hood, Texas.

"This is the crawl, walk and run training for executing a dismounted squad patrol," said 1st Lt. Chris Freeman, a platoon leader with B Battery.

During the training, Soldiers from various military occupation specialties worked together to practice attacking as a team to take out a group of "insurgents" emplacing an improvised explosive device, and then reacted to contact from a second group of insurgents.

Although the troopers are primarily field artillery and support Soldiers, they have filled the role of a maneuver element during their last several rotations to Iraq.

"This is very relevant [training]," said Freeman. "This is something they are probably going to be using until we get back to more conventional warfare."

After taking out the targets, the Soldiers were also expected to call up reports to their higher headquarters and to check that all personnel and equipment were in proper condition to continue the mission.

For Sgt Timothy Brown, a Manhattan, N.Y. native and a fire direction non-commissioned officer, this training is a reminder of just how fundamental these basic skills can be to a Soldier no matter their job.

During Brown's previous deployments, he worked side-by-side with support Soldiers that were brought together to fill the role of combat troopers, regardless of whether they had signed up to be a cook, a mechanic or a clerk.

"Some people come in the Army and think 'this is my (job)'; they forget about their basic Soldier skills," he explained. "This is a chance to bring everybody in the battalion out and make sure they can all react to contact in the same way."

"We're artillery....we don't get the chance to practice this a lot," said Spc. Samnang Phan, from Portland, Maine, a field artillery automated tactical data systems specialist with the battalion. "But this is something I would hope the Soldier standing next to me knew how to do."

"It's a good refresher for what I've learned before," he continued.

Although at the end of the day, each of these Soldiers returned to their regular jobs, the confidence instilled by being proficient at basic Soldier skills will stay with them.

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