Focused on reconnaissance security fundamentals, Paratroopers from the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade completed their dismounted reconnaissance Table XI training exercise at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, April 24 – 30, 2020. This training is essentially a live fire exercise in conjunction with reconnaissance operations at the platoon level.
Paratrooper Spc. Thomas Pezzolesi serves as a primary small unmanned aircraft system operator for Bulldog Troop, 1-91 CAV. His role is to provide visibility of areas where Paratroopers cannot go or see. While training reconnaissance security fundamentals, UAS operations play a key role as an enabler. Throughout the week, the platoons were able to leverage the brigade’s RQ-7B Shadow UAS and troop level UAS such as the RQ-20B PUMA and R-11B Raven.
“This certain training exercise that we’ve been doing was a good example how each troop’s operators can work together because we were co-located and we were teaching each other new things on how to fly,” said Pezzolesi.
Additionally, Paratroopers were provided with an opportunity to focus on individual skills such as noise and light discipline and improving communication through hand and arm signals.
“If you were to read the [operations] order, it’s a great problem to solve from the leader side,” explained Sgt. First Class Cody Knapp, platoon sergeant, 1-91 CAV. “It’s a very ambiguous enemy that we’re fighting which challenged us to develop the enemy situation and then maintaining a very large screen with a small number of force. It’s really challenged us as leaders and as individual paratroopers.”
Throughout the training, coronavirus prevention and mitigation remained the number one training objective for these Paratroopers. In order to do so effectively, leadership incorporated measures to ensure the safety of those conducting training. These methods included sanitizing any commonly used items every 12 hours, not using face camouflage to minimize Paratroopers touching their faces, ensuring a six foot gap at each security position and the use of single-soldier tents for sleeping.
“One of the challenges we face with the current COVID-19 situation is how rapidly the situation is evolving, both with procedures and mitigations,” said Lt. Col. Joshua Brown, commander, 1-91 CAV.
Social distancing was enforced where applicable and the use of face coverings was implemented where social distancing was not possible.
“Bottom line is readiness,” said Brown. “We’re expected to be ready at all times to answer the call of the nation, provide assurance for our allies and deter the enemies of our nation.”
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army's Contingency Response Force in Europe, providing rapidly deployable forces to the United States Europe, Africa and Central Command areas of responsibility. Forward deployed across Italy and Germany, the brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build partnerships and strengthen the alliance.