<i>This article is part series illustrating the development of an infantry Soldier through ascending echelons of deployment training:
Part three focuses on platoon live-fire training</i>FORT CARSON, Colo. - A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter lands and 10 exhausted Soldiers spill out of its sides into a violent windblast of snow in a remote Fort Carson training area Feb. 24.
The air assault was just a small portion of a platoon situational training exercise for Soldiers of Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who conducted their squad live-fire exercise in October 2014.
"I'm working closely with my platoon sergeant and my squad leaders to conduct multiple missions over about a 36-hour period," said 1st Lt. Brett Peloquin, platoon leader, Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT, 4th Infantry Division. "This continually tests us in preparation for a platoon live-fire and a potential deployment."The platoon evaluations prepare the Soldiers for future live-fire training and company operations which will certify them for unified land operations."Most of these guys are new and have never been deployed," said Staff Sgt. Bradford Fong, platoon sergeant, Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT, 4th Infantry Division. "I think that with this type of experience they will understand how full spectrum operations work."The platoon situational training exercise began with an eight hour deliberate planning phase and rehearsals for realistic missions.The first mission of the exercise required the platoon to maneuver four Strykers into named area of interest and dismount troops to destroy hostile forces.Once the area was clear the platoon leadership addressed concerns from actors posing as the host nation forces. They received intelligence from the actors and performed reconnaissance on a new target.After integrating with battalion level sniper and indirect fire assets, the platoon performed another deliberate attack on hostile forces, treated a "casualty" and responded to a chemical attack by donning their M40-series protective masks. The "casualty" was evacuated using the platoon's Strykers and the platoon withdrew from the chemical attack.Spc. Jared Shafer, infantry team leader, Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT, 4th Infantry Division, said that even though they were cold and tired after 24 hours of operations they still had another mission to complete."I'm the leader of my team, and I have to be motivated for them," said Shafer. "To keep them going and get the job done better than anyone else can."Their last mission required the Soldiers to air assault in UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, ascend uphill in deep snow to a ridgeline and ambush an approaching "enemy" with Javelin missiles and M240 machine guns."Our boots are frozen but we'll get through it," said Shafer, a native of Springfield, Ohio.Even after successfully completing their last mission the Soldiers were still required to act as the opposing force for the next platoon's exercise."These guys have definitely conditioned themselves," said Fong, a native of Union City, California. "If we did this a couple of months ago, they'd probably be dead tired."Peloquin said that he's proud of the Blacksheep platoon and looks forward to their next chance to prove themselves."When we go onto the platoon live-fire, I have the utmost confidence that we're going to perform not only safely but effectively and deadly against the enemy," said Peloquin, a native of Mokena, Illinois.