By Maj. Randy ReadyMay 21, 2016
HOHENFELS TRAINING AREA, Germany -- The Troopers from 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, have been putting their cavalry and reconnaissance skills to the test at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center's Combined Resolve VI.
Combined Resolve VI is a squadron-level decisive action rotation, May 5-25, designed to train the U.S. Army's regionally allocated forces to the U.S. European Command.
This combat training center rotation is unique in that the focus of the exercise is a cavalry squadron.
"This is a kind of [combat training center] rotation I've never heard of in my 18 year career," said Lt. Col. Christopher Mahaffey, the commander for 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment. "We have an entire CTC staff to deal with just one cavalry squadron, so we're truly lucky to get this opportunity and I think you see that in the way our Troopers are approaching training."
The squadron's senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Bolyard, said the exercise is increasing the squadron's readiness and ability to conduct reconnaissance missions, specifically with a number of junior leaders serving in duty positions higher than where they would normally serve.
"One of the largest challenges we've ran into is just rustiness," said Bolyard. "A lot of junior leaders don't have the experience conducting the [reconnaissance] operations they are right now."
The squadron has several sergeants doing staff sergeants jobs and a staff sergeant filling in for a platoon leader, but Mahaffey doesn't see this as a bad thing.
"It's not necessarily a challenge as it's a learning opportunity," said Mahaffey. "Everything becomes a chance to learn something new about how we do things."
Bolyard believes the opportunity presented to these junior leaders will benefit them in the long run.
"They're getting exposed and learning firsthand versus coming up through the ranks, and it will make them better leaders when it comes down to it," said Bolyard. "It will really benefit the Army because a lot of these Soldiers will leave here and go to other places, experiencing working at a higher level than their rank is. They'll cross pollinate across the force with their experience here and be able to share that with their junior Soldiers."
Staff Sgt. Matthew Quick, a senior scout for 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, said the majority of his Troopers were new to the platoon, so having the opportunity to shoot gunnery up to the platoon-level at Grafenwoehr, Germany prior to Combined Resolve helped set them up for success.
"It helped us to communicate as a platoon, picking out targets, target identification and fire commands," said Quick.
Now Quick said they are able to take it to the next level during the situational training exercise lanes and force-on-force to focus on the reconnaissance tasks the platoon is expected to execute.
"This exercise is giving us the opportunity to actually focus in on the things that we need to improve on and find out what we're strong at so we can conduct [after action reviews] after each mission and find out what we need to do to improve," added Quick.
Though the exercise has presented a number of challenges for the Troopers of War Paint squadron, they continue to turn them into learning opportunities to increase the squadron's overall readiness and ability to accomplish their reconnaissance mission.
"It's a great training opportunity," stated Bolyard. "I feel that you can learn more about being a scout here than you can anywhere else."