DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland - There is an old adage that says, "All good things must come to an end." For a Soldier, the "good things" are usually firing weapons, using explosives and assaulting an objective.
Paratroopers assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, took part in this Soldier-like fun during the unit's culminating platoon live-fire event at Wedrzyn, Poland on November 30, 2016.
Intense training conducted throughout the unit's recent Eastern European rotation seemed to have paid off as the 'Sky Soldiers' used tactics such as calling for indirect mortar fire, conducting dismounted range foot patrols and using a mounted M2 .50 caliber Browning Machine Gun to engage and assault several objectives during the event.
"As a battalion mortar platoon," Sgt. 1st Class Hsiao Tsung Chao, mortar platoon NCOIC said, "this has been a great opportunity to be able to visit the countries we are currently operating in for Operation Atlantic Resolve.
"It helps showcase our abilities to the battalion," he continued, "while integrating into their platoon live-fires and providing that indirect fire support to help the maneuver commanders set their conditions on the ground."
The communication between the commanders and Chao played a pivotal role in his ability to stay integrated with the platoon while being able to provide precise, accurate support fire for his fellow 'Sky Soldiers' throughout their assault.
"I've been working with platoon leaders on how to do proper 'call for fire' procedures while integrating their assets with their maneuver," said 1st Lt. Barley Hullett, officer-in-charge of fire support assets.
Chao expanded on Hullett's view by explaining how the ability of leaders to communicate smoothly plays a critical role in mission success.
"The biggest thing that our Soldiers have improved on is the ability to handle complex missions with limited resources," Chao said. "Their knowledge base from where they started OAR to now has increased, I would say, almost tenfold.
"My lowest private to my squad leaders all know the job, up and down, and can handle the roles equally," he emphatically said.
With the 173rd Airborne Brigade being part of the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, it's important for Paratroopers to be proficient and capable of conducting a full range of military operations across the United States European, Central and Africa Command areas of responsibility within 18 hours of being called into action.
It is also important for Soldiers to hone their ability to work as one cohesive and productive unit.
"Training never stops and, guaranteed, practice will make you perfect," Hullett enthusiastically said. "Once you get to that point, any mission that comes forward is that much easier."
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.