By Pfc. Terence Ewings, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsJune 19, 2008
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - There are many thoughts that could possibly run through the mind of a Soldier stepping off an aircraft and setting foot onto a foreign country prior to a deployment. That Soldier could be thinking about family, friends or the mission at hand.
Approximately 300 Long Knife Brigade Soldiers arrived to a windy and gusty Camp Buehring, Kuwait, June 8 having departed from Fort Hood's Robert Gray Army Airfield. And one Soldier had a specific thing in mind.
"Teaching Soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class David Groce, the non-commissioned officer in-charge of the special weapons exploitation team, or SWEAT. "I've been in Iraq before; I have experienced things that junior Soldiers can learn from."
Junior and senior Soldiers assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted vehicle rollover training, weapons familiarization and counter-improvised explosive device training here.
Units are getting the opportunity to not only get adjusted to the extreme wind and heat of the middle east before deploying to Iraq, but they are also receiving additional knowledge from their leaders that have already deployed.
As the NCOIC of SWEAT, Groce is one of those leaders that provides information about IED makers so commanders can identify patterns to effectively track and locate these criminals.
"When you deploy you never know what situation you are going to be placed into," said Groce. "That is why we train and prepare for different scenarios; it's what being a leader is about."
The 4th Brigade has gained new Soldiers and lost some of its combat veterans within the last six months. Senior leaders, such as Groce, are responsible for making sure the newly arrived Soldiers are ready for combat.
"Sgt. 1st Class Groce has always been a dedicated leader," said Cpt. Glenden Hanun, the brigade headquarters company commander. "He stepped up before he was asked and assumed responsibility in leading these new Soldiers."
Groce has recently been involved in managing SWEAT and assuming the role of provost marshal to assist with civilian law enforcement, said Hanun.
Groce, who was born in Fort Drum, New York, and grew up around the military, shares his more than 19 years of military experiences with fellow Soldiers.
He is convinced the training here in Kuwait, along with the brigade's two pre-deployment combat training center rotations at the National Training Center and the Joint Readiness Training Center, has made the brigade the best trained unit in the Army.
"When I'm not training or helping Soldiers my thoughts are with my Family," said Groce. "And I look forward to the end of this tour and the completion of the mission so that we can all return and spend time with our loved ones."