ILLESHEIM, Germany – Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, takes advantage of field conditions to train nighttime driving with night-vision goggles (NVGs), Dec. 16, 2021.
Field training presents challenges and opportunities that help sharpen the skill sets of Army units. Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Green, brigade and battalion master driver, with almost 20 years of service, led the way to maximizing his Soldiers’ time in the field. Developing the capability to drive a large vehicle without headlights can be beneficial on the battlefield.
“Night vision driving is very important,” said Green. “It is the best way to move without enemy detection.”
The course was challenging, even during the daytime. Oberdachstetten Training Area was water-saturated and muddy after nearly a week of intermittent rain showers. The course was a mix of paved, gravel and unimproved paths that weaved in and out of tightly wooded areas.
To prepare the drivers, Green had everyone first drive the course during daylight hours and then again at night with the headlights on. Following a deliberate course orientation and safety brief, Green had all trainees spend at lead 30 minutes looking through their individually assigned NVGs to allow their eyes to adjust.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Mangnall, 91B wheeled vehicle mechanic and squad leader with Echo Company said, “if Soldiers don't learn this here, then when they do get into a situation where they actually need it, they will be in trouble.”
Mangnall said that beyond gaining the confidence to operate the vehicles and drive at night, the training gives them an opportunity to gain familiarity with the NVGs.
“I've had to drive night vision before in Afghanistan,” said Mangnall. “I would rather my soldiers come out here and train in a controlled area where there's a leader monitoring them the entire time to make sure that they don’t drive off the road or get stuck.”
The small convoy of vehicles for the training consisted of light medium tactical vehicles (LMTVs) and high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs). The unit tries to train nighttime driving at least once every two months, more frequently if possible. Maintaining nighttime driving capability gives drivers more confidence, improves safety and gives a commander the option to move the unit during nighttime hours.
Echo Company is comprised of wheel mechanics, fuelers, and logisticians that support the entire battalion. 1st Air Cavalry Brigade is currently deployed to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve.
Since April 2014, U.S. Army Europe and Africa has led the Department of Defense’s Atlantic Resolve land efforts by rotating units based in the U.S. to Europe. There are four types of U.S. Army Atlantic Resolve rotations – armored, aviation, sustainment task force and division headquarters. Rotational units conduct bilateral, joint and multinational training events across more than a dozen countries. Atlantic Resolve is funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, which enables the U.S. to enhance deterrence, increase readiness and support NATO.
For media queries about Atlantic Resolve, email email@example.com.
To reserve training facilities or airspace at Oberdachstetten Local Training Area/ range complex, contact your unit S-3. Training facilities must be requested and reserved using the Range Facility Management Support System at: https://rfmss.usareur.army.mil/LTA/Pages/login.aspx.
For more information about the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, please contact Capt. Taylor Criswell, Brigade Public Affairs Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.