Soldiers complete breach training exercise in October
Pvt. Antoine Liles, 3rd Pltn., Co. C, STB, 1st ABCT, uses his fence cutter pliers to cut an opening in the concertina wire during the Obstacle and Breach training exercise Oct. 17 at Training Area 13, Fort Riley. Photo by: Sgt. Kerry Lawson, 1ST ABCT.
Story by: Sgt. Kerry Lawson
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Soldiers with Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, conducted breach training Oct. 17 to 18 at Training Area 13, Fort Riley.
"Our unit has been conducting obstacle emplacement and breach training throughout the month of October," said 1st Lt Christopher Dichiara, executive officer, Co. C, STB.
The company's training focused on enhancing its standard operating procedures and night operations. The unit also refined the emplacement of engineer obstacles, breaching, tactics, techniques and procedures.
The engineer's job is to allow freedom of maneuver for his or her fellow Soldiers, like clearing mine fields, breach walls or other obstacles. This follows the brigade's guidance to work on offensive operations.
"The training was planned after the need arose for additional breach training, following a successful iteration of engineer qualification tables in August. We realized that we were not totally in sync," Dichiara said.
The training enabled the unit to build guidelines for the platoons.
The exercise was squad-level based. It entailed each squad to successfully breach a complex obstacle. The obstacle consisted of breaching one row of concertina wire, making it through a mock-mine field and then breaching another row of concertina wire. Soldiers had to complete the task in 10 minutes to pass the mission.
"This is my first actual mine field breach," said Pvt. Mathew Peachey, marking team member, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Platoon, Co. A, STB. "I love working with my squad. The training really kept us aware to be ready for when we take this beyond a training environment."
Among the tasks of breaching, the Soldiers dug fighting positions for themselves, crew-served weapons and used the unit's M9 armored combat earthmover and Interim High-Mobility Engineer Excavator, or IHMEE, to dig 2-tier fighting positions for their M2 Bradley fighting vehicles.
"These Soldiers are also conducting the same exercises for breaching at night using their night vision goggles," Dichiara said.
The training ensured everyone was on the same page when carrying out their TTPs.
"This enables us to hone our skills and keep them fresh in our minds," Peachey said.
The training helps troops know their jobs and what to do when the time comes, said Sgt. David Ratliff, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Platoon, Co. A, STB.
"All this hands-on training helps my troops to prepare for what mistakes that may happen," Ratliff said. "It also allows me as a leader to see what deficiencies may occur and to correct them.
The unit has been training since March, when it received its Bradleys, Dichiara said.
"In May, we conducted a stabilized gunnery range, and, in June, the battalion conducted a field training exercise," he said. "August was really busy because the unit held M4 qualifications, as well as crew-served weapons qualification. We also held engineer qualification table and demolition certification."
The unit redeployed from Iraq last year and has conducted various training exercises designed to keep its Soldiers' skills sharp.
"These exercises are in preparation for our training next spring," Dichiara said.