HOHENFELS, Germany -- Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment conducted a validation exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, Feb. 19 - 26, 2018. All War Eagle Troops alternated through a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise and then executed offensive and defensive iterations in preparation for their upcoming rotation at the Battle Group Poland as part of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence initiative. The training generated an environment of stress and hardship that challenged them to perform under pressure.
"This VALEX unlike previous [validation exercises] saw us work more closely with and better utilize the enablers, specifically the engineers," said 1st Lt. James Reynolds, Platoon Leader, Apache Troop, 1/2CR. "On the defensive operation, we tightened our obstacles much more intelligently."
The end goal of this training was to truly challenge the skill level of all leaders, from team leader to the command team, by putting them up against an enemy force equal to their own capabilities.
"The thing that [the training] did better this year was that I had to actually request the use of enablers," said Capt. Nicholas Vanderburgh, Commander, Bull Troop, 1/2CR. "There were these restraints from higher that you would normally have in an operational environment … I thought it was very good how they scripted that into the training event."
Maj. Jeremy Flight, Executive Officer, 1/2CR, dubbed the exercise an overall success, strengthening his confidence in the Squadron's ability to perform in Poland.
"[Validation exercises] give soldiers confidence in their weapon systems," said Flight. "When they're aiming, they'll be able to destroy that target or enemy signature. I think it gives them some knowledge on how to use their weapons in a field environment. You're not on a nice flat range. You're having to actually get up and shoot, move … It's going to take more bullets than normal to potentially hit a moving target."
Sgt. Maj. Jerry Manzanares, Command Sergeant Major, 1/2CR, was also impressed with mission command at the troop level and the soldiers' ability "to adapt very quickly to the change of mission and environment."
The training being conducted, along with many weapon qualifications in between, will prepare the War Eagle Troops for their upcoming rotation in Poland. They are scheduled to replace the 3rd Squadron, 2CR during a transfer of authority ceremony in April.