By Sgt. Mark A Moore (10th Mountain)September 25, 2014
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Troopers assigned to 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), conducted a platoon-level live-fire validation course Sept. 8-19 in Fort Drum training areas.
The exercise allowed leaders to assess how well their Soldiers performed during vehicle-mounted and dismounted reconnaissance, observation point establishment, call for fire and automatic weapons suppression capabilities in a single training lane.
Each day, a troop of Soldiers executed Range 44's challenging day and night reconnaissance scenarios.
Leading one of those teams was Staff Sgt. Andrew Garason, a senior scout assigned to A Troop. Soldiers began the day by receiving mission operation orders and staging their vehicles for rollout.
"Today we are doing our platoon live-fires," Garason said. "We are moving out and setting up screen lines, which are part of our security operations."
Garason's team collectively dismounted their Humvees once they arrived near a known enemy location. Then they quickly established an observation post and gathered information about the opposing force.
The team also was responsible for setting up a protective screen for the main body of 1-89 Cavalry warfighters at their rear flank to prepare to advance toward the line of scrimmage. They successfully engaged the enemy with indirect fire and ultimately disrupted the enemy convoy operations.
Through these actions, their concealment was compromised and they began to draw enemy rifle fire themselves.
Forced to fall back on their Humvees, they established a defensive posture and suppressed the enemy with heavy machine-gun fire, successfully ending the scenario.
"The more we can stay in the field, the happier I am," Garason said. "It's a lot easier to teach through practicality than it is to teach in a classroom. I could teach someone how to set up a screen line on a whiteboard all day. But until they actually do it, they are not going to know how to do it."
Sgt. 1st Class Frank R. Howard, range safety officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, said that training of this caliber allowed leaders to teach the basics required for mission success.
"It gives (leaders) the opportunity to gauge them, training their Soldiers all the way down to the lowest level, so they understand discipline most importantly," Howard said. "Secondly, they just learn good fundamental field craft."