Soldiers battle heat, IEDs in convoy live fire
May 29, 2009
- Soldiers in C Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, completed convoy live fire training on Fort Benning May 15
- The Soldiers were in the 9th week of One Station Unit Training
- C Company was one of the last in the 198th Infantry Brigade to complete convoy live fire training, which is being phased out
Pop-up targets weren't the only enemy facing Soldiers in C Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, when they took part in convoy live fire training at Engineer Trail May 15 - they also battled the Georgia heat.
With humidity hovering around 100 percent and temperatures nearing 90, Soldiers spent the day mounting and dismounting vehicles, engaging targets while moving, and conducting enemy prisoner of war searches and assessing and treating casualties.
To prevent heat injuries, Soldiers drank water and rested in the shade between exercises. Drill sergeants monitored them for signs of heat exhaustion, such as dizziness, muscle weakness and vomiting.
The scenario Soldiers were presented with was an IED attack. Each Soldier went through a run with blanks before completing a live fire.
The goal of the training was to teach Soldiers the technical aspects of a convoy live fire, and to give them a higher level of familiarity and comfort with their weapons and equipment, said CPT John Reinke, commander of C Company.
"If that situation were to ever come up, I'd feel like I was more ready for it," SPC Jared Waechter said. "I'd never shot from a moving vehicle before, but shooting in different situations will help in the future."
PFC Lasan Khotsombath said the hardest part of the exercise was keeping still in a moving truck.
"We couldn't clamp on to the end of the truck," he said. "We had to hold our weapon up and keep that position until we turned or stopped."
The convoy live fire training marked one of the first times the Soldiers, who were in the ninth week of one station unit training, began to actively apply what they had learned in the classroom.
"It's good to be out here doing things that are meaningful and are going to help you when you get into a real-life combat situation," Waechter said.
For Khotsombath, the convoy live fire training was a turning point.
"It's been a tough nine weeks, but now that we're going through the actual Soldier training, I feel good about it," he said. "You've got to keep practicing (what you've learned) and then when you get out there in the real world, you'll be ready, and that's what all this training is about."
Soldiers in C Company were some of the last in the 198th Infantry Brigade to complete convoy live fire training. The brigade is phasing out the training beginning July 1 because it no longer reflects the current operating environment in Iraq and Afghanistan, Reinke said. Convoy live fire training will be replaced with scenarios where Soldiers interact with civilians and foreign soldiers on the battlefield.