Field artillerymen learn infantry skills in squad live-fire exercise
March 12, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - At Range 50, deep in the impact area and miles from the cantonment area or even a paved road, squads from the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division's rear detachment trained for war in a three-night field exercise last week. Going on field exercises is hardly business as usual for most rear-detachments, but then again, this rear-d is far from usual.
4-2 SBCT has a fairly new approach to handling its rear detachment. Rather than each battalion maintaining its own rear-detachment stateside, the brigade has a Raider Ready Reserve acting as a collective rear-d.
R3 handles normal rear-d activities, such as handling soldier, family, training, and equipment readiness. In addition, the R3 also counts the soldiers of G Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment in its membership.
G/52 is the "reserve" in Raider Ready Reserve. On order, the company can send an element as small as a single fire team or as large as the entire company to reinforce its parent brigade in Afghanistan.
The soldiers of G/52, most of them straight out of advanced individual training, must build and maintain proficiency in infantry tasks and drills in preparation for a deployment that could come at any time. It's an imperative task, especially since a great deal of the infantry company's new soldiers are not infantrymen.
"I was originally a cannon crew member with 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment," said Pfc. Cory Carter, now a fire team leader with G/52. "Seven of us (junior enlisted) and three noncommissioned officers were pulled from 2-12 to come down here and train with infantry."
The soldiers began their training early March 5 with a nine-mile foot march to Range 50. Soldiers brought only what they could hump on their backs or stuff into their cargo pockets. Once there, they engaged in three days and three nights of training.
They conducted day and night squad live-fire exercises focusing on the react-to-contact battle drill, practiced using a mine detector to locate improvised explosive devices, and learned some of the tactics, techniques, and procedures in use by the enemy in Afghanistan.
"This training is one of the culminating training events for us," said G/52 1st Sgt. Shayne Charlesworth. "It will test all of the skill level 1 tasks our soldiers should know, from loading, firing, and handling stoppages of their weapons, all the way up to moving as a member of a team and maneuvering as a squad."
"I learned some of this stuff at basic training, but some of it is brand new, especially with me being a new team leader," Carter said. "How to maneuver a fire team, how to make sure everyone is set up in a position to optimize their firepower - these aren't the sorts of thing I would have learned in the artillery world. It's a lot of new stuff on my plate at the same time, but it's a really good learning experience."
Some soldiers from R3 have already deployed to reinforce their parent brigade in Afghanistan. As the soldiers of G/52 train and maintain readiness to deploy at a moment's notice, they learn a valuable lesson: Some may be infantrymen and some may be artillerymen, but all of them are soldiers.