Although the Soldiers assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), are practicing social distancing measures in response to COVID-19, it does not mean they will lose their lethality.
Some of the youngest Red Currahee in the heavy weapons company have taken the challenge to assist the unit in maintaining readiness.
Specialist John Fiolich, infantryman, D Co., 1-506th Inf. Regt., is teaching other Soldiers in his organization how to recognize enemy combat vehicles. This will better these Soldiers for future gunnery training and prepare them for any future real-world conflict.
“I feel that every infantryman should have a basic understanding of enemy vehicles,” Fiolich said. “We’re not just fighting enemy infantry but we’re going up against their vehicles as well.”
Fiolich instructs the Soldiers in his platoon virtually as he sits in his barracks room with his computer, slide deck and a few notes on his bed and desk. The lessons cover different variations and capabilities of enemy wheeled and tracked vehicles.
The young specialist has developed a mastery of these vehicles as this is not his first exposure to the information.
“When I was a little kid I used to play video games,” Fiolich said. “I developed an interest in what those vehicles I saw in the video game and I would look them up and study them. I’ve been researching them ever since.”
Despite his knowledge base, it took Fiolich approximately three weeks to develop this course.
“It’s common for us to have the younger guys teach,” said Sergeant Christopher Marinucci, infantryman, D Co, 1-506th Inf. Regt. “It helps them learn and develops them to become a stronger [noncommissioned officers]. Fiolich is also very good at this. He has a great amount of knowledge on these enemy vehicles and their capabilities.”
Fiolich sharing his knowledge and expertise with the Soldiers in his platoon contributes to their tactical proficiency and may even save lives.
“This information and class are important because if you’re calling up the wrong things you can get people killed,” Marinucci said. “We need to be able to identify what is coming at us. If the gunner learns exactly what these vehicles look like we can report and engage accurately.”
This course is the first of many as Fiolich and Marinucci have a series of courses they will lead for D Co. Soldiers.
The course topics include enemy rotary-wing, fixed-wing, artillery and enemy small arms, which will increase the Soldiers’ knowledge.
Captain Scott Mcinerney, D Co., 1-506th Inf. Regt. commander, understands the importance of these courses, especially while practicing social distancing measures.
“This is a way for us to still maintain training proficiency given the current environment that we’re working in,” Mcinerney said. “These are the foundations for Dealer Company’s gunnery training. It is important to maintain these perishable skills during COVID-19.”
This series of courses is just one of the many ways Red Currahee continues to train their Soldiers to defend the nation as the world continues to fight and beat COVID-19.