By Staff Sgt. Matthew Bryant
1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st ABCT

RODRIGUEZ LIVE FIRE COMPLEX, South Korea - During semi-annual training, Fort Hood-based Soldiers accomplished something special in South Korea, with 23 crews achieving "distinguished" certification from April 15 - 24 at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex.

A total of 23 crews out of 34 undergoing certification in their M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles from the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment "Garryowen," 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, achieved the distinguished rating meaning those crews scored at least 900 out of 1000 points during the live fire exercise.

During the "Table VI" gunnery, crews fired with full-caliber ammunition using the 25mm chain-driven autocannon and the 7.62mm coaxial machine gun against moving and stationary targets and against point and area targets. Garryowen Soldiers shot live rounds during day and night operations for four days during Table VI.

Crews must score at least 700 points to qualify and be certified; if a crew scores 800-900 points it is rated "superior," and if a crew scores 900-1000 it is rated "distinguished."

This semi-annual training allows all the Bradley crews in the reconnaissance squadron the opportunity to prove their effectiveness at engaging targets that range from several hundred feet to over 2,000 meters away.

The certifications and training were complex.

Crews conducted operations in simulated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear environments, corrected "faults" in the turret that emulated possible electronics damage, performed with of the several targeting systems "failing," and successfully met requirements that both the gunner and commander engage targets.

During the gunnery, Bradley crews fought through scenarios while shooting and performing berm drills, allowing the vehicle to move forward and engage targets and then immediately return to cover, said Staff Sgt. Mathew Dunn, the squadron's master gunner.

Besides certifying crews, the gunnery validates the squadron's ability to effectively conduct its mission in South Korea, said Maj. Jeremy Williams, executive officer, 1-7 CAV.

"The field training exercise has also allowed us to demonstrate the fighting force of the mighty 'Garryowen,'" said Williams. "As we look at the path ahead it is clear to us the capabilities of this squadron are only increasing with time."

The reconnaissance unit's primary mission while deployed to the Korean Peninsula on a nine-month rotation is supporting Republic of Korea partners.