Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, put their training into action Jan. 25, loading their M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles onto trains at Fort Riley's Camp Funston.
Just over 24 hours earlier, Company C, 3rd Bn., 66th Armor Regt., was notified that it would soon be moving out to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. There the company will join up with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment based at Fort Hood, Texas, for about two weeks of combat training.
"This is a great training opportunity for us to work with another brigade and practice rapid deployment and integration," said Capt. Thomas Mussmann, commander of Co. C. "We'll be the only armor unit on the ground for friendly (forces) when we get out to NTC, so we expect to get used a lot."
Co. C is an immediate response company, meaning the unit is constantly building readiness so that it can deploy rapidly for a variety of missions.
"The goal is that this company is ready to deploy anywhere, anytime, any mission in a short time span," Mussmann, from Fort Wayne, Indiana, said.
The rail-load portion of the training consisted of Soldiers driving their tanks and armored vehicles onto rail cars and properly securing them.
"It's a learning experience," said Pvt. Anthony Gresham, a gunner with Co. C from Jordan, Missouri. "It definitely shows you who you are."
Gresham has been in the Army for a year and at Fort Riley for the last six months.
"We had to do a lot of training just to get ready for this, and then the training still continued," he said of being in an immediate response company. "They definitely teach you to remain cool. You keep your head when everything gets crazy."