Special Forces train at Oro Grande Range
June 7, 2007
Dozens of parachutes commanded the skies over Oro Grande Range, N.M. Thursday, as elements from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, parachuted from a C-130 after a six hour flight from Fort Campbell, Ky. This team will augment those already on the ground to train for their next deployment.
Capt. Anthony Kurz, Operational Detachment Alpha 582, 3/5 SF Group, said the unit saw an opportunity to practice a long-range flight and airborne operation.
"We are an airborne unit," said Kurz. "It is an important infiltration technique. Everybody jumped, there were no injuries. You can't ask for a better day than that."
Historically, Special Operations Forces have participated in critical strategic operations throughout the Iraqi war, to include high profile missions like Saddam Hussein's capture and the rescue of Spc. Jessica Lynch.
Thirty-six hours after the jump, one of the Special Forces teams conducted a convoy live fire and an improvised explosive device situational exercise. As the vehicles rolled through the lane, the Soldiers had to react to different scenarios.
Cutting down targets with live rounds from their moving vehicles was just the beginning. The team assessed one of the vehicle drivers a causality and within a short period of time the team executed its down driver drill; one of the many standard operating procedures the team conducts. In addition to the down driver drill, the team conducted a maintenance drill to practice the loss of a vehicle or a vehicle being rendered non-mission capable. The defensive perimeter only allotted enough time to set up the vehicle for a tow. Proceeding down the lane, they tended casualties and executed their consolidation plan.
Whatever the mission is, the unit is up to the challenge said Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Stinnett, B Company, 3rd Bn, 5th SF group.
"We do training like this all the time," Stinnett said. "We always stay prepared to do our jobs"
In order to meet the expectations of their missions, the Special Forces group is training everything from shooting the M9, M4, MK19, M240 and .50-caliber machine guns said Stinnett. Kurz said they are using the various ranges at Fort Bliss, including the mortar and demolition ranges, and are also conducting close quarter battles in the shoot houses.
The opportunity to use their foreign language skills was incorporated during a joint training exercise with a unit from the Central Command area, Kurz said.
"Every Special Forces member has some sort of language training," said Staff Sgt. John Doyle, B Co., 3/5 SF Group "Language was not a barrier in training with the foreign forces."
"The future of this War on Terrorism is working with other countries," Kurz said.
For some of the newer members, this will be their first deployment. Such is the case for Sgt. Ian Mackenzie, B Co., 3/5 SF Group. He said training at Fort Bliss is an advantage due to the surroundings which are similar to those of the theater of operations.
"I think the heat, the environment, the climate will help us down the road," said Mackenzie.
Special Forces members said they are enjoying their training and achieving success.
"This pretty much mirrors what we're going to see in theater," Kurz said, "so we might as well come out here and enjoy the desert."