New and improved: 1-24 Infantry Battalion brings new Soldiers up to standard
October 18, 2013
The 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division spent three weeks perfecting their basic infantry skills in a series of platoon live-fire exercises in Alaska's Yukon Training Area Sept. 23 -- Oct. 9.
"The purpose of this exercise was to train and validate the platoons using both organic weapons systems as well as assets available to the battalion," said Capt. Patrick McGrath, assistant operations officer for 1-24 IN.
The training was executed using the Army's crawl-walk-run format, with rehearsals, walk-throughs and blank-fire rehearsals ending with a live-fire assault, during which the platoons cleared and secured enemy-held terrain and structures.
"This is the culminating event of all the training we've been doing this summer," said 2nd Lt. David Weir, a platoon leader in A Company, 1-24 IN. "There's been a progression from focusing on individual skills moving on to team- and squad-level tasks and operations and this is where we bring it all together for a platoon level operation."
The battalion has a large number of new Soldiers and integrating them into their platoon was an important part of the training.
"Most of our platoon is new," said Pfc. Caleb Asmussen, an acting team leader in A Company, 1-24 IN, "so we've been going over a lot of the basics; rehearsing dismounted movement, support by fire, flanking and clearing and local security, and we were able to put all those into play during the exercise."
The exercise gave many Soldiers a clearer view of all the elements involved in a large-scale operation in addition to honing their own skills.
"We've been focused on our basic tasks and getting the new guys up to speed," said Pfc. Kevin Devens, a machine gunner with A Company, 1-24 IN. "This operation really gave us an opportunity to put everything to work, and to see all of the assets that are available to us. For the first time we were able to see the bigger picture. I'd never done anything that intricate."
As the Alaskan winter sets in focus will shift to operating in extreme environments. Soldiers of 1-24 IN will take on the Arctic with the same dedication and enthusiasm they've put into their previous training.
"We came out of this stronger in our basic infantry skills, and with a better view of the entire operation, but also we were able to work together, and ended a much stronger and more cohesive team than when we started."