"Long Knife" troops keep skills sharp
January 20, 2012
FT. HOOD, Texas -- Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, ruck marched out to the Black Gap range complex in order to conduct rifle marksmanship training, here Jan. 11-12.
The unit, which returned from a year long deployment to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn last September, was focusing on returning to the basics in a training regimen geared toward continuously preparing the unit for any future challenges or missions.
Staff Sergeant Tomas Acosta, the range noncommissioned officer in charge from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-7 Cav., 4BCT, 1st Cav. Div., said that Basic Rifle Marksmanship is always the primary tool in any training. Acosta stated that Soldiers need to be solid on the basics so they can move on to more comprehensive training. BRM plays the important role of providing a foundation upon which other training is based.
In addition to BRM, Soldiers trained to fire while wearing their Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical masks and at night.
"We want to make them more confident that they can still engage the enemy at night," said Acosta.
Instilling confidence is a big part of returning to the basics. 1st Lieutenant Ian Morris, the range officer in charge from HHC, 2-7 Cav., 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div., said the goal of the range was to "build [the Soldiers'] confidence in their ability to do basic soldier tasks and in their equipment and NCOs who are training them."
Not only were the Soldiers training on their weapons, but while waiting to fire, they trained on radio communications tasks. It all leads back to basic soldier skills, Acosta said.
Even though the combined arms battalion recently returned from a deployment, improving Soldiers' basic skills remains important. 1st Lt. Drew Markus, the assistant range OIC from HHC, 2-7 Cav., 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div., said that while the unit was in Iraq, "we were working on another army's skills instead of focusing on our own."
In addition, the style of conflict is changing, so BRM becomes an integral part of future training. "The Army is going back to the high intensity conflict fight. We're back to troops in the woodline," said Markus.
The troopers of the Ghost Battalion are focusing on a variety of tactical tasks over the next several months as they prepare to meet whatever future challenges they may be given to defend our nation.