Fort Riley, Kansas



‘Dreadnaught’ battalion takes home lessons from Korean gunnery exercise

By 1st Lt. Patrina Lowrie | 2ND BATTALION, 34TH ARMOR REGIMENT | January 06, 2017

     POCHEON, Republic of Ko­rea – The Soldiers of 2nd Bat­talion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, conducted platform-specific gunnery training at the Rodri­guez Live-Fire Complex, Re­public of Korea, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 16.

     During the 30-day training exercise on the RLFC saw the “Dreadnaught” Soldiers train on the battalion’s key armored vehicles, the M1A2 Abrams tank and the M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

     According to officials from 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt., 1st Inf. Div., the tank and Brad­ley crews all maintained their qualifications and continue to be trained, ready and lethal infantry, armor and reconnais­sance crews to enable multi-echelon collective training at the company level and higher. If called upon, the battalion stands ready to “Fight Tonight” in support of the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division’s mission to deter re­gional aggression and maintain peace on the Korean peninsula

     In addition to the armored crews, the scout and mortar Soldiers also qualified on their weapon systems during the 30-day exercise. The platoons conducted multiple platform-specific gunnery tables during the training event in support of the battalion’s contingency force mission.

     “For the last five weeks, the battalion has sharpened our gunnery and combined arms maneuver skills at Rodriguez Live-Fire Complex,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Harris, the battal­ion’s commander. “This train­ing has ensured that the Sol­diers are at the highest levels of readiness and are prepared to accomplish any mission. This training has set the foundation for all the operations we will conduct throughout the rest of our time in Korea.”

     Leading up to the gunnery exercise, the Dreadnaught Sol­diers maximized the training opportunities in the virtual training environment. Soldiers mastered their crew duties and fire commands through the use of Bradley advanced training system, or BATS, and advanced gunnery training system, or AGTS, on Camp Casey prior to their live-fire execution at the RLFC. The virtual systems allowed the crews to practice target acquisition and engage­ment techniques in order to achieve confidence with their platform-specific systems prior to conducting collective live fire training.

     “The battalion went through a comprehensive training pro­gram that included training in simulators, testing on the basic skills required to operate the equipment effectively and safely and ensuring the battal­ion is prepared to execute all of our missions,” said Maj. Jacob Kaldor, the battalion’s opera­tions officer.

     Enablers from multiple echelons were integrated into the training scenarios, which exposed the battalion’s platoon leaders to inorganic assets they can use on the battlefield.

     “The integration of engineer assets during the Super Table XII is great value added to our training because it allows (platoon leaders) to get reps on one of our (mission essential task list) tasks and it allows them to build those relationships with enabler-leadership that is essential to the success of combined-arms operations,” said 1st Lt. Juan Quiroz, the battalion engineer.

     Additional assets outside of the brigade were also used to help create a wide range of capabilities on the simulated battlefield for the battalion.

     “Efforts culminated with the Gunnery Table XII, where platoons were able to plan, in­tegrate and employ organic and attached enablers to include 120 mm mortars, Kiowa and Apache aviation assets to ac­complish our key collective tasks,” said Capt. Matt White, the commander of Company C, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt., 1st Inf. Div. “Our mission readiness is confirmed by their actions.”

     The battalion’s fires and ef­fects coordination cell, the team responsible for coordinating artillery, air support and other indirect fire support, provided massing fires while integrating surface to surface and air to ground assets in order to en­able armored and mechanized Infantry platoons to reach their objective.

     “The terrain on the penin­sula is not conducive for effec­tive voice and digital communi­cations, but the adaptable fires team leaders in this organiza­tion were able to identify issues, troubleshoot and transmit digi­tal call for fires to the mortars in a timely manner,” said Capt. Brandon Morse, the battalion’s fire support officer.

     “It was a good opportunity to practice volley fire to create shock effect and discord on the enemy,” added 1st Lt. Aaron Beyer, a platoon leader with Company B, 2nd Bn., 34th Ar­mor Regt., 1st Inf. Div.

     “Gunnery was a great expe­rience for me as a driver,” said Pfc. Cody McCartney, a driver assigned to Scout Platoon, Headquarters and Headquar­ters Company, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt., 1st Inf. Div. “I was able to refine my skills ma­neuvering with the platoon and realized that I could really help my crew by calling out targets that I could see through my driver’s video enhanced.”

     For armored crews, con­ducting the most realistic train­ing possible is key to success on the battlefield.

     “Crew gunnery is the foun­dation upon which an armored company draws its strength,” said Capt. Andrew McLellan, the commander of Company A, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt., 1st Inf. Div. “The ability to quickly acquire targets and engage with accurate, lethal-direct fire en­ables the unit to impose its will against the enemy. The skills re­fined during our gunnery here at Rodriguez Live-Fire Com­plex support the ‘Fight Tonight’ standard of readiness and fur­ther enhance our commitment to the US-ROK alliance.”

     Soldiers on the ground and in the tanks and Bradleys said they also understand the im­portance of conducting train­ing like they’ve completed over the 30-day exercise.

     “Gunnery is a true test of a crew’s proficiency to not only fight their tank, but also to engage and destroy targets,” said Sgt. Stetson Countryman, an M1A2 Abram tank gunner with Company A, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt., 1st Inf. Div. “Gunnery at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex was chal­lenging due to a wide variety of targetry and the terrain of the range.”

     The Dreadnaught battal­ion will continue to hone their skills throughout their nine-month deployment to the Ko­rean peninsula as other battal­ions from the 1st ABCT utilize the ranges at RLFC to maintain their skills as trained and ready armored units.


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