By Pfc. Paige Pendleton, 1st BCT Public Affairs, 1st Cav. Div.October 3, 2013
FORT HOOD, Texas (Oct. 3, 2013) -- Gunnery is in full swing this fall as the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gears up for another brigade inclusive training exercise in November, and a rotation to the National Training Center in February.
A 36-day gunnery training exercise kicked off in mid-September, and Soldiers assigned to 2nd "Stallion" Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment of the Ironhorse Brigade conducted Tables III and IV with M1A2 Abrams tanks, Sept. 23, here.
These tables cover stationary and moving target engagements, which will lead to crew qualification tables later in the exercise.
Normally, crew qualification is conducted every six months while platoon qualification is annual, explained Milwaukee native, Staff Sgt. William Roark, master gunner for Company C of the Stallion Battalion.
This exercise will qualify Stallions for the second time this year, and certify companies on both tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles through company collective gunnery and maneuver training.
Since this summer's gunnery, Roark explained that some crews have changed, with Stallion Soldiers moving into different roles, shifting from either loader or driver to gunner.
A loader during his first gunnery, El Paso, Texas, native, Pfc. Corey Troxell, an M1 armor crewman assigned to Company C of the Stallion Battalion, was assigned to a new crew -- this time as a gunner -- and thinks his crew and others have adapted well to the new rosters.
"They're performing their jobs correctly. We're hitting everything that we need to, and everything is going smoothly," he said.
Cohesion is what allows crews to work well together and perform successfully during gunnery.
"Everything about being a tanker is teamwork," said Troxell.
Tank crews must be synced at all times, Roark explained. The whole crew can fail if a driver is out of sync, a gunner misses a target, or a loader cannot arm the gun in time.
"You work as a crew all the time," he added. "As a tank crew, you're a family."
So far, Roark is impressed with tank crew performances and is confident they will continue to perform well throughout the duration of the exercise.