3/7 Cavalry gets back to the basics
February 16, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - While many Soldiers from 2nd "Spartan" Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, have started to deploy in support of combat operations in Afghanistan, this does not mean an end to the continual training of Soldiers remaining at Fort Stewart.
For the Soldiers of 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2HBCT, the extended training time while at Fort Stewart has allowed the squadron to re-focus their training and get back to the basics of what makes up a scout and reconnaissance squadron, according squadron commander, Lt. Col. Lance Varney.
"For the first time in years, because of rapid deployments, we have the block of time available to focus on what our organization is designed to do … to specialize in reconnaissance,"Lt. Col. Varney said.
Since the Marne Division, and the Army as a whole has begun a rapid deployment operation tempo dating back to the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, the Army has evolved to better fit the needs of the conflict. However, for specialized units such as reconnaissance or field artillery combat Soldiers, the evolution of recent conflicts has caused these types of units to work as a lighter combat maneuver unit. According to Lt. Col. Varney, the ability to re-focus the Squadron's training back to the reconnaissance is more about looking toward the future of Cavalry Scout and the individual Soldier.
"It's about transition; the Army is continually evolving to meet the needs of the current operation. However, since combat operations in Iraq has ended, it is on us to focus back on the what our organization is designed to do to better prepare the Soldiers and Army of the future for any conflict we may face," Lt. Col. Varney said.
As part of the re-focus on scout and reconnaissance training, Lt. Col. Varney stated that the development and design of the training is being designed by the troop commanders themselves, and not dictated from higher authority.
"In years past it was on the troop and company level commanders to design and develop much of their own training. However, with the focus shifting back to honing our skills as scouts this has allowed the time to also focus on the professional development of troop commanders as they must develop the training themselves and rely on the mentorship of senior noncommisioned officers," Lt. Col. Varney said.
For First Sgt. Jon Sylvester, B. Co., 3/7 Cavalry, the opportunity to re-focus his troop's training on the basics of reconnaissance has allowed him to train his young noncommisioned officers on the importance of military education, through group lead discussion focused on prior military battles. According to First. Sgt. Sylvester, this type of military history education and discussion follows much of the education officers receive, however, by developing noncommisioned officers the same way will provide a much more educated Soldier.
"We've emphasized the professional development on noncommisioned officers on military education. Mostly for the noncommissioned officers to have a greater understanding of military history and strategy," said First Sgt. Sylvester. "Every two to three weeks the noncommissioned officers are given a reading assignment about a particular battle in history, whether that battle was successful or not, and ask them what they would have done in that battle as a leader, whether it is troop placement or strategy."
First Sergeant Sylvester stated that the ability to re-focuses his troops training has allowed the opportunity to develop greater educated noncommisioned officers and in turn educate all Soldiers within the unit.
"With this kind of education, usually geared towards officers, at the noncommisioned officer level we can produce better, smarter and sharper, leaders which in turn produce better Soldiers," said 1st Sgt. Sylvester.
For Staff Sgt. Clinton Davis, B. Co., 3/7 Cavalry, the training focused on military education and development has been a great success.
"The training has been great. We (noncommissioned officers) have been able to place ourselves in these battles and discuss on a strategy level what we would have done," said Staff Sgt. Davis. " It's great on the noncommisioned officer level to have that kind of professional development, it flat out makes you a smarter leader."