By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Bunn, 2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO NCOICMarch 26, 2015
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (March 26, 2015) -- Just two weeks after completing a monthlong training exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team headed out to the snow-covered training area of Fort Drum.
For four days, last week, the infantrymen and their support elements braved the frigid temp-eratures and deep snow to continue training and strive to be better than everyone else in the Army.
"We are trying to instill a new philosophy, a new mindset in the battalion," said Capt. Eric Cannon, executive officer for B Company. "We want to be harder, stronger, faster and more lethal than any other unit or battalion in the Army."
Once their equipment and gear came back from Fort Polk and the Soldiers had a few days to relax with their Family Members and friends, the battalion's training momentum continued.
"We want to maintain a sharp readiness and be able to execute at a high level no matter what," Cannon added. "Instead of the guys lounging around, taking it easy, we were ready to get back out here and start training and continue to improve ourselves and our unit."
The Catamount infantrymen occupied a group of ranges within the training area. Each day, a company moved to a different site to optimize the training effect. They performed squad movement drills through the woods on snowshoes, sharpened individual weapons skills and infiltrated the Military Operations in Urban Terrain site.
Soldiers of B Company took over the MOUT site Thursday. Infantrymen need to know how to swiftly enter and clear a building with minimal casualties.
They rehearsed how to tactically stack their four-man team outside a door before entering and to methodically move together within a confined space.
Together they entered the building, moved down the hallway and turned corners safely without getting in front of their buddy's weapon muzzle.
Sgt. Aaron Hinds, a team leader with B Company, is in charge. He is the one who makes sure his Soldiers know the correct procedures and can execute them with precision.
"I control mostly the speed of how fast we go in, where and when we move. I make the call of where everybody is and where weapons systems should be," Hinds explained. "If (we) take a casualty or if there is an enemy in the room, I dictate who searches them and who helps with medical aid and litter."
Hinds said he believes that training hard builds confidence and brings a team closer. He joined the Army three years ago to be an infantryman like his grandfather who served in Vietnam on San Juan Hill. As a seasoned combat veteran himself, he takes his job seriously and knows he needs to train and take care of his Soldiers.
"I like being a team leader. It is kind of like the first step you take, not shooting so much, because you are more in command and control of the weapon systems," he said. "But it's the Soldiers. You can be a team leader with great Soldiers and you love your job, or you can be a team leader who does not really care about your Soldiers and they screw up. Then your job sucks. It all depends who you have and how much time you spend with them."
This training week may be over, but the Catamounts will be back out soon to take on bigger challenges to improve their tactical skills.
"We try to get as much time in the field as we can. It's something that I think is very valuable especially now (with the military drawdown)," Cannon said. "It's good even with the snow and adverse conditions. We are always out training, adapting and getting better each day. We just want to get better; we always want to strive for perfection."