1-87 Infantry Soldiers train for deployment
March 12, 2010
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Before the "Alpha Gators" of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, knew they were going to Afghanistan, they were ready to answer their nation's call. The past several weeks have been filled with predeployment activities, such as Theater-Specific Individual Readiness Training for this company and many others in 1st BCT on Fort Drum.
TSIRT consists of classes designed to inform and test Soldiers on their ability to handle certain circumstances and situations they may encounter while oversees. Specifically, Soldiers learn methods for detecting types of improvised explosive devices, how to perform a proper route clearance, how to administer first aid and how to properly handle weapons, just to name a few.
While all Soldiers participated in basic classes, some Soldiers were afforded an opportunity to take part in more advanced skill classes, such as robotics.
"I felt like I was on 'Future Weapons,'" said Spc. Joe Rusch, a team leader with Company A, 1-87 Infantry. "I know the skills I learned will someday help us complete the mission."
In addition to TSIRT, Gator Soldiers also worked to become proficient in combat lifesaving skills and combatives.
Spc. Joshua Chamberlin, Spc. Matthew Babcock and Pvt. Donovan Lovelace - medics with Co. A, 1-87 Infantry - taught a mentally intensive, 40-hour combat lifesaving course
The three medics trained and qualified more than 20 Gator Soldiers, covering everything from pressure bandages to tourniquets and open chest wounds.
"It was a great opportunity for me to impart some of my specific knowledge to the men," Babcock said. "It's one thing to do concurrent training with them, but it's much better to have them for a whole week with no distractions. It's during that time that they really learn the critical tasks."
The addition of new CLS-qualified personnel benefits the company's combat readiness status.
For those who were lucky and brave enough to be chosen, a combatives level-one certification course was conducted at the same time through the efforts of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-87 Infantry.
The Gators sent 10 of their toughest Soldiers for the grueling one-week course that started with basic escapes and submissions.
At the culmination of the course, Soldiers learned open- and close-fisted strikes. They also were trained to perform the notorious "clinch drill." This is where a student must achieve an approved hold on an instructor, throwing punches without striking themselves.
"I feel much more confident in myself," said Spc. Samuel Warner, an infantryman with Co. A, 1-87. "I definitely learned that I'm tougher than I thought."
All of the Gators who started the week of training earned their certification.