Trained and Ready
May 28, 2013
A light utility truck maneuvers through a city as its Soldier occupants dressed in tactical gear remain alert and man a variety of weapons that include .50-caliber machine guns and M249 squad automatic weapons. When these Soldiers found themselves on the receiving end of gunshots, they immediately returned fire and quickly moved through the kill zone to reach a safer position.
While it may sound like the Soldiers were on patrol in Afghanistan or Iraq, the Soldiers of the 602nd Aviation Support Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, were actually at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex. The training was conducted as part of the battalion's combat patrol qualifications April 18-30.
"CPQ is important because it provides an opportunity to train my combat logistic crews in convoy tactics, gunnery skills and crew coordination, which are tasks that they would be required to perform in order to accomplish their mission," said Lt. Col. James A. Duncan, 602nd ASB commander.
The battalion got the chance to do extensive combat patrols that included other Soldiers playing the part of the enemy. In the mock patrols they had to react to various scenarios created to simulate possible combat situations such as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack, a vehicle becoming disabled, or even Soldiers that are part of the patrol getting injured or killed.
Combat patrols were not the only activities the battalion engaged in while in the field. They also conducted live-fire ranges allowing the Soldiers the opportunity to remain adept firing their weapon.
"Weapons qualification is important to me because it lets me know how effective I am with a weapon in a real-life scenario," said Pfc. Jake Foxworth, an artillery repairer from Seminary, Miss., assigned to Headquarters Support Company. "The more time a Soldier has hands on with a weapon, the more proficient he is with it."
The Soldiers who participated in the battalion's CPQ not only received tough realistic training during the field exercise, but also increased their trust in their battle buddies standing to the left and right of them.
"The training we received at CPQ made us stronger as a team," said Foxworth. "I know I am more confident with my unit in a real-life scenario."
Running these activities from a tactical operations center is the battalion staff. The commander said this training allows him and his staff to better understand the big picture with all the moving pieces to better direct them if they need to fight tonight.
"In a resource-constrained environment it is important for units to utilize every training opportunity," said Duncan. "In addition to training our combat logistic crews, this exercise allowed me to train my staff on battle-tracking and mission command."
When the training concluded, the Soldiers received the mark of approval from their commander, proving once again that not only are they "Second to None," but that they are ready to fight tonight to deter aggression on the peninsula.