This article is part series illustrating the development of an infantry Soldier through ascending echelons of deployment training:
Part two focuses on squad live-fire training.FORT CARSON, Colo.- Strykers stir up a billowing cloud of dirt in their wake then quickly halt to allow Soldiers inside to spill out of the back ramp during a situational training exercise on Fort Carson, Oct. 29.
Soldiers of Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducted their team live-fire on Aug. 13, 2014 and now continue to validate their safety and lethality with a squad live-fire.
"It's our bread and butter because companies fight squads," said Capt. Allen Jenkins, commander, Company B, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "Since this is a squad live-fire, it's putting our most basic echelon of forces to the test."
Two Strykers transported Soldiers the beginning of the 250 meter lane and each squad swiftly exited the back ramp and stacked up alongside the vehicle for cover.
The squad of Soldiers then bounded with five second sprints to cover and maintained constant fire on a distant bunker with the help of a strategically placed heavy weapons team.
Once they reached the vicinity of the bunker, a grappling hook was thrown in order to check for traps before the Soldiers low crawled to and cleared a perimeter of concertina wire. The bunker was destroyed with a "grenade" after the area was cleared.
With their mission complete, the squad securely consolidated, treated a randomly selected "casualty" and then loaded back into Stryker vehicles to finish the lane.
"This kind of training is incredibly important because in real life scenarios this is exactly what's going to go down," said Sgt. Ronald Poland, infantryman squad leader, Company B, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "This is a great group of guys. They pay attention, love coming to work and absorb all the training given to them."
Pfc. Kristian Rivera, infantryman, Company B, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. said a lot of the Soldiers in the company are new and that they're greatly benefiting from the more experienced members of the formation.
"When I was a team leader, I was new to the Army and I was second guessing myself," said Rivera, a native of Syracuse, New York. "Now I've learned to be confident and if I'm wrong then my leadership will fix it."
Company B is scheduled to conduct a platoon live-fire situational training exercise in Jan. 2015 and the Soldiers continue to learn as they progress through their training events.
"They're all sponges out here; from the lowest private to our young squad leaders," said Jenkins. "Every time these guys go out and train they improve. They've accepted my challenge to make themselves better today than they were yesterday."