Special Forces Soldiers train support troops at Fort A.P. Hill
January 17, 2014
By Bob McElroy
FORT A.P. HILL, Va. - Soldiers from A Company, 1st Battalion 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg N.C. prepared for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan at Fort A.P. Hill recently.
While at A.P. Hill three Operational Detachment Alphas trained Soldiers from the 50th Signal Battalion as well as the 3rd Special Forces Group Support Battalion and the 1st Battalion 3rd SFGA Support Company.
A Company commander Maj. Christian Sessoms said the support Soldiers provide his Soldiers with trainees similar to those they could encounter if they deployed overseas to train another country's military.
Sessoms said the support Soldiers have no base of knowledge in small unit and infantry tactics, much like the foreign Soldiers Special Forces could train.
And. while training the support Soldiers, the Special Forces Soldiers are training themselves, Sessoms said.
Capt. Taylor Manson, commander of ODA 3113, said the training had gone well for his Soldiers and the support Soldiers.
"Some of them (support Soldiers) say this is the most they've fired since they joined the Army," Manson said.
Manson said the training will establish a baseline and allow his team to train the support Soldiers to a point where they can conduct raids.
During the training the Soldiers fired the Mark 19 and Mark 47 40 millimeter grenade launchers, the 81 millimeter mortar and the .50 caliber machine guns.
Several other Special Forces Soldiers honed their close combat skills in the Fort A.P. Hill shoot house. Two-man teams and four-man teams practiced entering and clearing rooms while firing live ammunition at silhouettes.
Instructors on catwalks above the shooters observed their progress and offered constructive criticism when they'd finished shooting.
Sessoms said he and his Soldiers enjoy training at Fort A.P. Hill.
"I like the training areas here," Sessoms said. "It's closer to Fort Bragg, cheaper to come here and there are no training distracters."
Sessoms said that other training areas present more challenges to training, not so for A.P. Hill.
"There's great interaction, great cross talk," he said. "When it's as smooth as silk to get things done, why go anywhere else?"
The Special Forces Soldiers will train here for about three weeks and then return to Fort Bragg.