For the first time in history, the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear reconnaissance platoons of the 2d Cavalry Regiment and 173rd Airborne Brigade came together to conduct joint training at the 7th Army Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area, Grafenwoehr, Germany, Feb. 25 - 28, 2019. The training sparked a new addition to platoon tactics as the mounted 2CR CBRN Stryker platoon effectively displayed its capability of providing security in a contaminated environment for dismounted 173rd CBRN platoon operations.
The dismounted platoon, based out of Vicenza, Italy, arrived at Tower Barracks, Germany and fully integrated with 2CR's own CBRN platoon.
"GTA's rapid availability of training areas allowed us to not only verify our response capability - but also created an environment of seamless integration with our 2CR counterparts," said 1st Lt. Wade Sweger, chemical platoon leader, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade. "The whole exercise was without any friction and we couldn't have had a more positive experience."
Joint training rapidly ensued. The week began as the 2CR platoon instructed the 173rd platoon on the nuclear, biological, chemical reconnaissance vehicle, training strategies, operational capabilities and tactics. With the NBCRV, a mounted platoon is capable of covering vast amounts of terrain in order to map out contaminated areas for freedom of movement of the primary fighting units of 2CR.
After, the 173rd platoon trained the 2CR platoon on the distinctly different capabilities and tactics of a dismounted CBRN reconnaissance platoon. Dismounted CBRN teams focus on smaller scale buildings, determining the products of illegal chemical laboratories and sampling for incrimination. Both teams were able to use each other's equipment and conduct small, supervised tactical exercises to help understand the capability differences.
"Seeing both perspectives [of CBRN reconnaissance] let us communicate efficiently and work more smoothly," said Spc. Elder Fernandes, CBRN specialist, Lakota Troop, Regimental Engineer Squadron, 2CR. "Going through the motions with their equipment lets us see what is required of us to operate with them and lets them see what my platoon needs of them."
Following the briefs and small-scale exercises, both platoons took to the field for two days for field training exercises. On day one, platoon leadership trained their own platoons on mission essential tasks necessary for platoon evaluations. That afternoon, Soldiers observed a mission conducted by the other platoon to see what they previously learned in action.
On day two, the platoons executed the capstone event: a joint mission involving large terrain and roads for mounted reconnaissance and a village for the smaller, more acute dismounted reconnaissance operations. The effectiveness of the NBCRV was evident. The NBCRV is capable of providing reconnaissance and security in a contaminated area that other vehicles or forces cannot operate in, or clear it so that other teams like the dismounted CBRN platoon can move in to operate.
Overall, the joint training ended in great success. The CBRN Soldiers of both brigades learned a great amount from one another and both platoons increased their operational capability. Lakota Troop and Hurricane Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade look forward to working together again to provide more innovative training for their CBRN Soldiers.