FORT HOOD, Texas- Squadrons from throughout the 3rd Cavalry Regiment conducted guardian angel training April 2-6, 2018.
For over six months, the "Brave Rifles" squadrons have been enhancing their readiness by preparing for and participating in Decisive Action Rotation 18-04 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. Now, instead of continuing to hone force-on-force training, the troopers of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen are adjusting fire to take on a new advise and assist role as guardian angels.
With an advise and assist mission, the Brave Rifles troopers take on a non-combat role for the U.S. military, allowing the advisors of the host nation to conduct their own business while the troopers provide security.
"The guardian angels are there to protect that advisor," Lt. Col. Dave Rowland, the commander of 1st Squadron said. "Because of the guardian angels, the advisor doesn't have to worry about the security of wherever he or she is."
Guardian angel training is more than just providing security and protection. Troopers also have to learn about mannerisms and indicators of when something is not going well while maintaining their situational awareness.
Rowland explained that as guardian angels, the troopers are learning a concept put out from III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II.
"As General Funk says, 'secure yourself first,' and so that is the first step of any operation," Rowland said. "We're always trying to secure ourselves first and the guardian angel training is how we do that in the advise and assist role."
The troopers were mentally and physically challenged as they learned to respond to a myriad of situations that they might come across. Training ranged from room clearing and evacuation procedures to convoy and counter- improvised explosive devise operations.
"It's different from what we usually do - fighting and engaging the enemy that's in front of us. Now, we have someone to worry about, someone to protect," Sgt. Tanner Armstrong, an infantryman and team leader with Ironhawk Troop, 3rd Sqdn. said about the guardian angel training.
"It was very good training," Armstrong stressed.
Commanders planning the training had to make sure that their troopers had plenty of different scenarios to work through.
"The troop commanders did excellent work in setting up scenarios where they (troopers) had to figure out what to do. The commanders had to make it challenging for them because that's what real life is like, there's not just one enemy, there's multiple things going on- a lot of complexity," Rowland said.
He added, "It forced the troopers to make decisions."
Capt. Andrew Teruya the commander with Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, stated that the purpose of the guardian angels is to make sure that someone is always watching the other's back and maintaining situational awareness to protect advisors.
"Our focus was to conduct guardian angel training, which exposed troopers to different concepts of not necessarily direct action or offensive operations," Teruya said. "But how they are going to secure and protect advisors."
"This is probably the first time some of these Soldiers are experiencing this concept as we have come out of six months of training for decisive action. There's a little bit of a mental adjustment for them as far as what they were expected to do and what they needed to do as far as how they secure advisors," Teruya added.
Pfc. Alex Mancill, a cavalry scout with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Sqdn., said that he really enjoyed the guardian angel training and that "securing yourself first" was key to a successful mission.
"You have to expect the unexpected and maintain situational awareness," Mancill said.