Seeing, hearing, reporting key to Cavalry Scouts
February 23, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Like ghosts in the wind moving silently over the terrain the Cavalry Scout is one of the most unique combat arms Soldiers in the U.S. military. Their mission is to not directly engage with the enemy, but to observe and relay information to their brothers-in-arms.
The Cavalry Scout's primary mission is to be the eyes and ears on the battlefield. However, in the past decade the techniques often used by the scouts have altered to meet the ever changing battlefield.
"For a decade now the Cavalry Scout has stepped away from the observation role and has had to be closer to an infantry Soldier," said Capt. Michael Normand, Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division.
"However with combat operations ending in Iraq we are getting back to the primary task of a Cavalry Scout -- observation," Capt. Normand said.
For many of the Cavalry Scout Soldiers their roles while deployed in Iraq has been one filled with combat patrols, quick response teams, or convoys, Capt. Normand stated. While those techniques are an asset for Soldiers to know, getting back to their primary task as Scouts better prepares Soldiers for the future.
"You never know what the future will bring, so getting back to the key task of scouting and observing is our primary mission," said Capt. Normand.
During their two-week field exercise the Soldiers of 3-7 Cavalry have been drilling on the basics of scouting. Learning techniques to observe and report enemy locations and movements, as well as engagement tactics and procedures.
"We have been running several engagements dealing with several different scenarios. The goal is to have every Soldier quickly identify the kind of opposition, whether through sight or hearing, and take the appropriate action depending on the kind of enemy element they identify," said Capt. Normand.
For the day's exercise the Soldiers of "Crazyhorse" Troop, 3-7 Cavalry, were tasked with identifying a larger enemy force consisting of heavy armored vehicles or tanks. Captain Normand said that for this kind of element, the key is for a scout to remain unseen while they observe the larger force or if engaged by the enemy to quickly disengage from them and continue to observe.
"If a Scout Platoon comes upon a smaller force on the battlefield we are trained to engage as any combat arms unit would. However, since scout's operate as a small reconnaissance unit if they locate a much stronger force we are trained to continue to observe the unit and relay information to higher command on the enemy strength and movements until an appropriately sized element can engage the enemy," said Capt. Normand.
"Knowing when to pull back the reins and see, hear, and observe, your environment is key for young Cavalry Scout Soldiers to learn. Those techniques are what provides essential intelligence information on the battlefield and ultimately saves lives," said Capt. Normand.