By Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollum, National Guard BureauMay 5, 2009
CASCADE, Md. (5/2/09) - As the U.S. military implements technology such as laser-guided munitions, cruise missiles and other highly accurate weapons in a joint environment, servicemembers still need to be on the ground to provide human intelligence, target acquisition and other forms of information.
Coinciding with the transformation of the Maryland Guard's 58th Brigade Combat Team into a Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, two subordinate units recently merged to better accomplish this mission.
In a ceremony today, the Cascade-based 129th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Surveillance) and the Glen Burnie-based Troop C, 158th Cavalry Squadron, combined to become Troop C, 158th Cavalry Squadron (Long Range Surveillance).
The two units, initially separate during the ceremony, were given the command to face inward, and march until they were one troop.
"This is a very historic day," said Lt. Col. Robert Frick, commander of the squadron.
The previous mission of Troop C, according to members, was to provide dismounted surveillance ahead of friendly lines by dismounting from wheeled vehicles and marching into enemy lines for reconnaissance.
While the Glen Burnie Troop C was doing that, the 129th ID was providing battlefield surveillance by insertion from a plane, long-range walk or other means via a small detachment of Soldiers.
The new mission combines elements of both units, with the 1st Squadron,158th Cavalry Regiment providing a troop-level field of Soldiers to draw upon, as well as more staff-level Soldiers to enable better joint cooperation with which to pass on their information.
"It's no longer a direct fight. It's a fight from a distance," said Frick. "We have a beefed-up S-2 unit to analyze data. Our assets do talk and coordinate data to the Air Force and Army aviation."
The new LRS and its repurposed mission has the added skills of using more versatile entry methods such as waterborne and airborne assets to penetrate deep behind enemy lines.
Once at the target of interest, the troop provides 24-hour surveillance. Soldiers of the unit wear the maroon berets of an Airborne unit and regularly practice their Airborne operations near their armory.
Newcomers to the LRS are excited at the training they can now receive.
"You get to do some high-speed stuff," said Spc. David Goad, a cavalryman from the Glen Burnie Troop C, who hopes the repurposed troop will send him to U.S. Army Ranger School. Goad said he will try to take advantage of all the schools the troop offers, which involves any method of entry or extraction.
"We have the ability," said Frick, "whether it's high-altitude insertion, low-altitude Airborne insertion, scuba-qualified guys [or] pathfinders. We can pretty much get to the battlefield where we need to be almost any way there is."