OROGRANDE RANGE CAMP, N.M. -- A thunderous roar rang across the seemingly endless desert, as waves of Bradley Fighting Vehicles assigned to 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division cascaded over the golden sand dunes supporting exercise Strike Focus at Orogrande Range Camp, N.M., April 12, 2019.

"We are training our troops and companies to be lethal and effective units during Strike Focus," said Maj. Andrew Boyd, the operations officers for 1-1 CAV. "We are conducting the reconnaissance and security for 2ABCT."

Exercise Strike Focus offers 2ABCT the opportunity to rigorously train every aspect of their brigade while enduring harsh conditions and challenging factors designed to simulate real-world combat scenarios.

"Strike Focus is longer than a standard National Training Center rotation," said Boyd. "Every single Soldier and every staff section have an opportunity here to train in conditions similar to NTC, which is the best simulation we have for combat."

Participating in exercises such as Strike Focus allows for Soldiers to train their warrior skills as well as to build stronger bonds within the unit and increase a sense of organizational pride.

"Being part of the 1-1 CAV "Blackhawks" is something that we take pride in, we are a unit with a storied history," said 1st Lt. Aidan Dillon, a fire support officer for 1-1 CAV. "We are helping to build a legacy here, each of the repetitions that we've taken on these maneuver lanes strengthens us to work as a team, improving our organization as a whole."

1-1 CAV serves an integral role within both 2ABCT as well as 1AD, providing a wide spectrum of reconnaissance and scouting abilities intended to maximize the fighting capabilities of the brigade and division.

"The division is soon going to have three ABCTs, so we need to have effective reconnaissance squadrons and organizations which can be the eyes and ears of every brigade combat team," said Boyd. "So that when the division encounters the enemy; they'll know all about the enemy, the enemy is disrupted and the enemy is off-guard. 1-1 CAV does this for the division and for the brigade."

The sense of history is not lost on the Soldiers of 1-1 CAV, who have participated in conflicts such as the Mexican-American War, World War II and the Vietnam War. The unit continues to train and prepare for any duty that is required.

"1-1 CAV is the oldest reconnaissance squadron in the Army, we're out here building on the legacy of the "Blackhawks" as the oldest and most versatile squadron in the U.S. Army," said Boyd. "We did reconnaissance and security 150 years ago on the Western frontier, and we're doing the same thing here out in the desert plains of Fort Bliss."