FORT HOOD, Texas - In the Army, people are always on the move. Soldiers come and go all the time, and switching jobs and positions is just part of career progression.

But the challenge with this is keeping units well trained and ready to perform their mission even with new personnel.

For the troopers of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gunnery training in late-February and early-March was a chance for new vehicle crews to work together while practicing on the equipment they will use downrange.

"This is an opportunity to certify new crews that didn't have the chance," explained Sgt. 1st Class Tyron Williams, a Montgomery, Ala., native and a master gunner for 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.

"This helps make sure that crews know the commands, and that gunners know what they are looking for and are able to acquire and hit targets in a timely manner," he said

During the gunnery, Soldiers are expected to work as a crew in their assigned vehicle while listening to commands from the tower and destroying targets as they become available.

"For a lot of the newer Soldiers, this is the first opportunity they might have had to do this," said Pvt. Tommy Pearson, from Inglewood, Calif. and a driver with 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. "This is a chance for them to get familiar with the ways it's supposed to run."

Although most combat Soldiers within the Black Jack Brigade have already completed gunnery, newly formed crews and crews with new members are expected to qualify together.

"It gives them good hands on training," said Sgt. Brandon Pricer, from Marshal, Texas, a Bradley commander with 1st Bn., 8th Cav. Regt. "Most of the guys out here are brand new...they learn a lot from this. This helps make sure that everyone knows their jobs.

With these new crews certified, leaders can feel confident that these Soldiers are proficient as a group and ready to complete whatever mission they are given.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16