‘Pacesetter’ Soldiers conduct convoy live-fire exercise
Soldiers with the 266th MCT conduct a convoy live-fire exercise March 27 at Fort Riley. The unit’s current mission is to serve as the Global Response Force, a yearlong assignment that tasks the unit to be available to rapidly respond to disasters around the world.
Story by: Sgt. V. Michelle Woods
1ST SUST. BDE. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Soldiers with the 266th Movement Control Team, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, had their skills and competence tested during a recent convoy live-fire exercise at Fort Riley.
Capt. Charlie Jones, company commander, 266th MCT, said the exercise focused on preparing his team for the unit's mission as part of the Global Response Force, a yearlong assignment, which tasks the unit to be available to rapidly respond to disasters around the world.
As a movement control team, the unit deals primarily with managing and controlling the movement of cargo. In the event the unit is deployed in support of the GRF mission, its role is to establish movement control operations in potentially austere locations.
Second Lt. Louis Papet, unit movement officer and convoy commander, said his team spent about one month training for the late-March exercise. He said Soldiers learned how to protect and defend a convoy, fire their weapons at night, spot and react to improvised explosive devices, call in a 9-line medical evacuation request and operate communication equipment in the vehicles.
"These aren't things we normally do, but we really wanted to conduct this exercise, so we pushed through whatever challenges arose and came out a stronger, better-trained unit," he said.
The unit partnered with the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. Kiowa pilots, who provided air support during various exercise scenarios. The presence of the aviators allowed the "Durable" Brigade Soldiers also to train on the standard format for requesting air support fire.
"It was beneficial because we got out of our comfort zone and did training that we don't typically do," said Spc. Joseph Winters, movement control specialist and assistant convoy commander.
Winters said he appreciated the effort made by the leadership in the company to organize, plan and coordinate training that was both fun and realistic.
"We were driving, and the Kiowas were flying over us, and you could see (the helicopters) shooting targets," he said. "I'll never forget that part. It was awesome."
Winters said the exercise highlighted the importance of each Soldier's ability to perform tasks not necessarily part of their everyday routine.
"Let's say there is a Soldier in the turret, and he gets shot while you're in the backseat," he said. "You have to jump up there and do his job."
The training scenarios the 266th MCT encountered during the exercise were designed to simulate the challenges Soldiers may face during the coordination, planning and execution of a deployment mission.
"Times to eat were cut short because mission timelines would change at the last minute," Winters said. "That's a situation likely to happen (downrange), so it's good to get in the mindset and be prepared for when plans and mission requirements change."
At the end of the exercise, leaders at every echelon evaluated the 266th MCT's performance.
"As a commander, I feel that my Soldiers are more than prepared for our current global response force mission," Jones said. "I am proud and confident in all my Soldiers, from my leaders down to my most junior-ranking Soldiers."
Papet echoed his commander's sentiments, adding that the two-day exercise offered a wealth of training opportunities that will help ensure his team's success down the road.
"It was tough getting ready and planning for the exercise, but after it was all said and done, I think everyone felt like it was good training," he said. "We're a small unit, and I think learning to communicate with each other brought the team closer together."