Combined-arms live-fire training challenged leaders and troopers at every level and strengthened team cohesiveness as Outlaw Troop, 4th Squadron (Longknife), 3rd Cavalry Regiment, experienced during the Brave Rifles exercise.

The regiment executed the CALFEX from 12-29 August and trained 13 troops and more than 1,500 troopers. The exercise provided realistic training so the troopers can enhance proficiency on mission essential tasks and also prepares the regiment for a successful rotation at the National Training Center this fall.

"This training will make sure that we are comfortable and understand how to maneuver under direct and indirect fire conditions in order to build our confidence so we can maneuver in combat," Outlaw Troop Commander Capt. Cory Tighe said. "We have troopers driving strykers, manning guns and scouts that will be dismounting vehicles, moving down the lanes and calling for fire on targets as they proceed through the lane."

One of the troop's mortar teams has been working together for several months preparing for the event.

"This is a solid group of guys and the fastest mortar crew in the squadron," Mortar Team Leader, Staff Sgt. Jason Barnard said. "During qualifications they were called out as the fastest in the squadron. They work as a team and are very cohesive."

Spc. Kyle Elliot, the team's gunner said he loves his job.

"It's different being a mortar man in a cavalry reconnaissance unit," he said. "We aren't on the ground. We are mounted on the vehicle so we can move wherever we want to."

The team maneuvers with a M1129 Mortar Carrier where the 120-mm mortar system is mounted.

The mortar team is also training Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet, Zachery Berry, from the University of Southern Indiana. Berry completed basic camp last summer and just completed advance camp. This was his first live fire training event.

"I'm looking forward to the live fire," he said. "I have done dry runs and blank runs, and now I'm excited to see everything pieced together and the final product with a live fire."

Pvt. Nate Wells, the mortar team's M240B gunner, is the latest trooper to join the team.

"Its high intensity unlike any other job," he said. "I'm learning a lot from the leaders and the other members of the team."