4-31 Infantry Soldiers conduct field training during winter storm
March 6, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (March 6, 2013) -- As Fort Drum braced for Winter Storm Nemo, Soldiers of A Company (Immortals), 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team Rear, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), pushed through freezing temperatures and heavy snow to complete their live-fire exercises, Feb. 7-12.
The intent of the six-day field training exercise was to certify teams and squads on their ability to maneuver through difficult terrain to engage and destroy enemy forces, said Capt. Ryan David, A Company commander.
"Validating the proficiency of these elements is essential, because everything we do as a company ultimately relies on the capabilities of teams and squads to successfully execute their missions to support a larger objective," David said.
With mission essential training on the line, the Immortals weren't going to come out of the field for a bit of cold and snow. The field training exercise consisted of weapons squad live-fires, team live-fires and squad live-fires.
The first day's training covered weapon squad live-fires, which consisted of a movement and deliberate emplacement of heavy weapons teams. Once emplaced, the weapon squad would engage targets of opportunity under the direction of their squad leader. Shortly after the last iteration, Winter Storm Nemo arrived with blinding snow and plummeting temperatures.
The following three days of the exercise consisted of team live-fires, where three- to four-man teams maneuvered and engaged pop-up targets. As soon as the first team stepped out that morning to trudge through knee-deep snow, with limited visibility and minus-15-degree wind chill, they knew it was going to be a challenge.
"The teams had to take the weather into consideration during their planning," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hoy, platoon sergeant from 2nd Platoon. "How effectively they communicate with each other, how they decide to maneuver through the lane, and proper cold-weather weapons maintenance determined how successful they would be."
The remaining days of the exercise covered squad live-fire, where leaders received a mission briefing that detailed a scenario, and they had to devise a plan to accomplish the task at hand.
Squad leaders had to lead their men on a route through the woods into a deliberate attack in order to gain a foothold on a village. Not only did every squad successfully complete the scenario through day and night iterations, but they were able to finish the field exercise ahead of schedule.
"The storm definitely added new challenges to the exercise," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Dado. "It tested our logistical support capabilities and proved to the Soldiers the effectiveness of the Extreme Cold Weather System."
Despite the cold and wet conditions, the Immortals sustained no cold-weather injuries throughout the field problem.
With this fundamental training complete, A Company "Immortals" look forward to platoon and company live-fires and beyond, as they continue to train "To The Top."
Anninos serves with 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment.