This article is part series illustrating the development of an infantry Soldier through ascending echelons of deployment training:
Part one focuses on team live-fire training.
FORT CARSON, Colo.- A young infantry Soldier acting as a team leader leapt down behind a damaged old car and shouted, "right side bound up," while providing cover fire during a live-fire event, Aug. 13.
The event marked the transition for Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Soldiers from training on individual tasks to validating the safety and lethality of each team leader and the Soldiers under their command.
"The purpose of this event is to gauge the progress of our teams and evaluate their proficiency," said 2nd Lt. Langston Clarke, platoon leader, Company B, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "When a team conducts the lane they are supervised by their squad, platoon and company leadership in order to ensure safety and that they learn the best practices."
Teams of four Soldiers were required to react to contact, utilize appropriate cover, maneuver to the enemy, give a quick situational report, treat a casualty and safely break contact from a superior force in the 200 meter lane.
"It was definitely tiring," said Pvt. Kirk Tennyson, infantryman, Company B, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "I've never done anything like that before but after every iteration we improved significantly."
Lt. Col. Andrew Saslav, commander, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div., said he wanted to prepare the most fundamental leader in the Army by sharing his knowledge with new Soldiers who have no history of infantry command.
"He was a rifleman and then we put him in charge of three people," said Saslav. "The fire team leader takes the greatest leadership leap of any position in the Army."
Pvt. Tylor Swanson, infantryman, Company B, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div., successfully stepped up as a first time team leader.
"The biggest challenge was directing my men and thinking ahead of what steps I needed to take in order to complete the objective," said Swanson, a native of Rossville, Ga.
A majority of the formation consists of Soldiers straight out of basic training who performed in a position usually reserved for an experienced specialist, corporal, or sergeant.
"Privates are filling the role of team leader," said Capt. Allen Jenkins, commander, Company B, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "I couldn't be more proud and it says a lot about the future of our formation."
Each team was required to prove their competency with blank and live ammunition in the lane before the training was complete.
"Shooting, moving and communicating with live ammunition is what we do professionally," said Clarke.