FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Kicking up tufts of dirt on a hot, humid and still North Carolina day, the paratroopers ran into position over the pile of red clay they were ordered to seize.
Unhindered by the sweat traveling down their faces, the Soldiers focused intently on the buildings they had in their weapon sights. Then they knelt, waiting for commands.
On cue, they pulled triggers, creating bursts of flames as rounds sped through the muzzles of their weapons.
When the smoke cleared, their leaders at the Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise at Fort Bragg N.C. brought them together, the paratroopers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, to discuss the pros and cons of their performance.
The CALFEX, which lasted from Aug. 4 through Aug. 15, provided the "Falcon" paratroopers with the opportunity to incorporate ground, air, and sustainment assets from across the division to create a realistic combat training scenario.
"You have fire supporters built into the company formations," said Col. Patrick Work, commander of the 2nd BCT, describing the scope of the training. "You have the engineers out here breaching, and we are bringing it all together with intelligence assets."
Units from throughout the All American Division were brought into the CALFEX to allow commanders a range of capabilities within their teams. Aviators, engineers, logisticians, and infantryman were only a fraction of the assets employed at any given time by commanders.
"For us this is a really critical training event," Work said, "an important milestone as we prepare for readiness."
In support of the CALFEX, the 407th Brigade Support Battalion set up a Brigade Support Area where logisticians exercised their skills, providing medical aid, meals, and equipment maintenance while conducting training vital to the defense of the BSA.
"The complexity of the battle drills helps prepare everybody," observed Spc. Brett Webb, an infantryman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT.
"It's because of events like this that we're ready to do our jobs."