Avn Soldiers Hone Infantry Skills
February 19, 2009
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- Shots rang through the woods and a squad of Soldiers quickly positioned themselves on the ground searching for the source of the shots.
Sergeant Gabriel Rodriguez, a squad leader in Company B, 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, shouted orders to his Soldiers, instructing some to flank around the enemy fire. It wasn't long till the opposition force was suppressed.
"This is good training," said Rodriguez.
The Soldiers of 603rd ASB were participating in Warrior Task Training, a battalion-wide lanes training exercise, Feb. 11, at Hunter Army Airfield. Companies were divided by squad and sent through the lanes, which tested 14 warrior tasks, and moved from the base point to the evacuation point.
Rodriguez led his squad of nine Soldiers through an hour of training that included ambushes, an improvised explosive device, capturing prisoners and even casualties.
"The training was excellent because it put you in situations where you need to know what to do," Rodriguez said. "(Situations) such as how to contain people and the rules of engagement are useful and people may not be used to or are not familiar with them."
Though specific needs of the Army are ever changing the basics are not, said Rodriguez, who added the training allowed them to focus on those basic skills - shooting, moving and communicating.
"Everyone needs to be ready in any kind of situation," Rodriguez said. "You don't know what kind of situation or area you're going to be patrolling or guarding and training like this puts people in the state of mind where they are reviewing their basic infantry skills.
All Soldiers are infantry Soldiers first. That's the first things you learn before you even learn your (military occupational specialty)"
In a move away from classroom style training, Staff Sgt. Morris Robinson, member of Headquarters and Support Company, 603rd ASB, and lanes NCOIC, said the goal of lanes training was to allow Soldiers the opportunity to practice applying what they learn.
"We wanted to get the Soldiers away from the butcher paper and round-robin type training and get them out in the environment, let them physically get involved with what they're being taught," said Robinson.
"Each course has an obstacle the squad must work through. We're not trying to kill them, but we want to see how they work with the people they work with every day. We put them in a field environment and see how they work together from the squad leader down to the lowest level."
The training also allowed pinpoint accuracy when determining areas of improvement, said Robinson. With the companies broken down into squads the exercise examines the squad's integrity.
"We can actually see where the Soldiers are lacking," Robinson said.
"We've gotten a lot of feedback and the Soldiers say they enjoy coming out and getting dirty and being able to actually react."