'Spartans' pass through the 'Gates of Fire'
December 28, 2009
CAMP HOVEY, South Korea -- Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion (Spartans), 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, recently passed through the "Gates of Fire", a live-fire training event at Hovey's Apache Range.
The advanced rifle marksmanship training was designed to increase soldiers' lethality, confidence in their weapon systems and better enable them to survive on today's battlefield.
"The Soldiers completed a series of gates leading up to the culminating event," said Lt. Col. John T. Harris, Commander of 1st BSTB. "Gate 1 was individual qualification, where Soldiers qualified with their weapons in order to compete. In Gate 2, they went through short range marksmanship and conducted dry fires. Gate 3 consisted of a individual live fire. The final and capstone gate, Gate 4, is where Soldiers were given the full opportunity to work together as a team."
The teams that represented each of the battalion's companies consisted of a driver, a team commander, and two passengers.
"What we're doing out here is giving the Soldiers an opportunity to get a scenario based training experience in Korea's steep mountain sides," said Harris. "We put them through a scenario where they conduct a security patrol and come into contact with an IED. They react by dismounting their vehicle, using fire and maneuver techniques and target transition to acquire and destroy multiple targets."
Capt. John D. Coligado, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st HBCT, was a member of one of the teams going through the final gate. "In Korea we are not actively engaged with an enemy," said Coligado. "This is good training for us and we are getting valuable combat-related skills."
Pvt. Joshua Needham, an MP from HHC, says this is his first duty station and has never experienced this type of training before.
"I like this type of training better than regular qualification because with regular qualification you're just always lying in the prone or kneeling, you don't actually get to move out and about while you shoot," said Needham.
Being a member of Coligado's team, Needham says he got a lot out of working on a small team and following orders in the chaos of a combat scenario.
Needham says his favorite part was getting out there blasting off rounds and practicing to get out of a vehicle and move around wearing full gear and body armor.
"Overall it was a great training event and we're all glad to be out here," said Harris. "It provided a realistic training scenario that will serve our Soldiers well if ever in combat."