Maj. Nathan Plummer, squadron executive officer for 4th Squadron 7th Cavalry Regiment prepares to fire a live 120mm mortar round to the shouted commands of Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dicks, an indirect fire infantryman for Apache Troop 4-7 Cav. during Slashing Sabers, a training exercise, at Rooster 8 Sept. 18.

Booms echoed across training ground Rooster 8 as Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment fire 120mm mortars from the backs of modified M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, marking the end of Slashing Sabers Sept. 18.

During the 11-day training period, Soldiers were given time to perfect their craft and cover everything from the basics to advanced techniques.

"Our exercise involved the entire squadron deploying to the field, where we worked on various tactics, techniques and procedures such as area recon, maintenance ops and a live mortar fire exercise," said Maj. Nathan Plummer, squadron executive officer for 4-7.

The regiment's mission has been slowly changing as of late so the training focused on the unit's new tasks.

"The regiment has been undergoing a transformation from a being a former divisional cavalry regiment to a lighter unit, where our focus is now reconnaissance heavy," Plummer said.

Soldiers found themselves pushed to the limit, but gaining knowledge and experience throughout Slashing Sabers.

"I learned a lot of things," said Pfc. Dustin Cole, a gunner for Apache Troop, 4-7 Cav. "I learned how to plot and I learned how to be a better gunner."

During the training, all of the Soldiers were tested on their gunnery skills with a gunner's exam.

"The whole troop got a 95-percent expert rate; nobody shot below sharpshooter, and 5 percent shot at first class gunner," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Dicks, an indirect fire infantryman for Apache Troop.

Slashing Sabers also helped relations between Republic of Korea Soldiers and U.S. Soldiers by conducting joint operations during one of the training days.

"We coordinated a last-minute training exercises with a ROK unit passing by," said Plummer. "We've received an immense amount of support from them."

Skills such as the ones that Soldiers have learned during Slashing Sabers can be applied no matter where they go.

"Training's going to help them immensely, especially when they go to a new unit because they have hands-on training," said Dicks.

At the end of the day, the results spoke for themselves as commanders and Soldiers alike commended themselves on a job well done.

"Our Soldiers have performed extremely well. I've only been in country a month now, but I am thoroughly impressed with all of them," Dicks said. "They're some of the best 11 Charlies (indirect fire infantryman) I've ever seen."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16