‘Devil’ Brigade Soldiers conduct situational training exercise
Soldiers with the 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt. conduct a link up with the scout platoon from 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt. to conduct an “intel-handover” prior to their line of departure and movement to their next objective, during the unit’s platoon-level STX April 8 to 26 at Fort Riley. Photo by: 1st Lt. James Liebrenz, 1ST BN., 16TH INF. REGT.
Story by: 1st Lt. James Liebrenz, 1ST BN., 16TH INF. REGT.
Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division spent the first two weeks of April in the field during the unit's recent platoon-level situational training exercise, April 8 to 26.
Each line company was supported by the other companies, like the scouts and snipers companies, as well as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and the forward support company, which rotated through a series of lanes, each spending four days in the field. The units went through a series of challenging tasks designed to further enhance the Soldiers' abilities to perform as an effective fighting unit. The training was developed for infantry and armor platoons.
This was the first time the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and Abrams tanks had been out with the infantry dismounts since the unit received them. The Bradleys were fielded in fall 2012 and the Abrams were fielded in January.
Each lane was developed to enhance and develop skills needed for each platoon to perform its respective jobs. This also applied to using the Bradley and dismounts.
"It was a great way to teach the sniper section the realities of living in a hide position for long periods. It was something the section hadn't done before," said Sgt. Bo Feitshans, section leader, sniper platoon, 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt.
The scenarios ranged from attacking and clearing an enemy on an urban objective, conducting a movement to contact and culminating on day four with a day and night live-fire exercise.
"This is the first time that we've been able to bring the Bradleys and the dismounts together on a training mission like this, and it has been a great learning opportunity for us," said 1st Lt. Christopher Odekirk, platoon leader, Company B, 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt. "During the LFX, the Bradley's established support-by-fire positions, while the infantry dismounts set up attack-by-fire positions and cleared a trench of mock-enemy troops. This was after engineers breached a wire obstacle."
After clearing the trench, the platoon secured the objective. Soldiers who participated in the exercise were supported from the mortar section of 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt., in the form of indirect fire from the battalion's 60mm mortars.
"This is all done with live ammunition, giving realism to the training that is greatly beneficial to the Soldiers," Odekirk said.
The armor platoons faced scenarios designed to challenge tank commanders in maneuvering the 70-ton Abrams tank in real-world-type situations. The lanes also develop skills in both attacking and clearing an objective, conducting breach operations of wire obstacles and conducting a movement to contact against enemy forces.
The training exercise ends with defending an objective against a peer-like enemy, said Lt. Col. Roger Crombie, battalion commander, 1st Bn., 16th Inf. Regt. "The purpose of this exercise was to train small units in their critical collective tasks and the fundamentals of combat operations. Each platoon was challenged through 96 hours of continuous operations, where they moved tactically, reacted to contact and attacked in different situations under various conditions."
This is an important step in the battalion's training cycle. It allowed the Soldiers to perform realistic training and aided the Soldiers to enhance their confidence in themselves, their equipment and in their teammates. The next step for the unit is to prepare for future company-level STX.