Since their activation ceremony Sept. 5, the Soldiers and command group of Delta Troop ('Lancers'), Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division have conducted "mission essential" training to be more familiar with one another tactically, and prepare for upcoming security operations next deployment.

Delta's light gunnery training on Sept. 11 offered a chance to train up the unit's truck commanders, drivers, and gunners, who provide security for the Division's command group, and staff, while down range.

"We are really applying the Army's crawl, walk, run, training mentality for this one," said Troop D commander Capt. Nicholas Falcetto, from Emporia, Kan. "We are doing this gunnery from a stationary position, then we go to single truck firing while moving, and we will culminate all of this with a convoy live fire at the end of the month."

According to many of the gunner's who are participating in this training, firing a M-240 Bravo, or a .50 caliber machine gun from a mounted position atop a moving humvee is not as easy as it seems. For the gunner's, this training is the perfect opportunity to brush-up on their marksmanship and get prepared to follow rules of engagement during convoy operations.

"As a gunner our main focus is providing protection from anything that could put our unit or its personnel in jeopardy down range," said Niagara Falls N.Y. native, Spc. Sergio Cardenas, a gunner with Trp. D, DSTB, 1st Cav. Div. "This training is giving us gunners more 'trigger time' with the 240 and the 'Ma Deuce (.50 cal), the two best weapons in the Army, which we utilize in Iraq. This way when we do [deploy] we are better prepared and more familiar with our weapons," he added.

Besides the familiarization of their weapons, this training helps focus everyone, from the commander on down, to adjust to the men on their right and left and bring them closer as a unit.

The Troop is comprised of Soldiers who have experience conducting security patrols during past deployments with the DSTB security platoon, and the rest are recently assigned troops; new to the division and its deployment security operations, Falcetto said.

"We have a large assortment of [combat] patches, several Marines who had a break in service and have come back in," Falcetto said. "This really gives us a wide variety of experiences to draw from and build up the Troop."

"At first it was a little hectic; all these different ideas coming together, but I really don't see any draw-backs to our diversity now," said Cardenas. "We have everything from Fisters (Fire Support Team member), infantryman, (cavalry) scouts, even a mechanic, so it's actually been more beneficial."

According to Falcetto, with the coming together of so many diverse experiences and previous assignments, there is definitely a chance for everyone to learn something, and teach something as well.

"It helps out a lot. You have the guys who have done the security thing before, and we are able to sit down the guys coming from the 'line units,' and explain to them the differences in the way we run things. We learn from the 'line' guys as well... so I feel we have a really good mix," Cardenas said.

"All of this training is to bring us together and make us an effective unit. All of it is and will be beneficial in ensuring our Troops capability to handle their mission and be successful in it," Falcetto said.