FORT STEWART, Ga. – The “Mustang Squadron,” 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, hosted a modernized tank demonstration for Soldiers’ families during a planned family day on Sunday, July 17, at Fort Stewart. Families were able to witness U.S. Army modernization as the squadron’s tank company conducted Table IV during the unit’s operator new equipment training for the modernized M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank.
“We’re out here today for Family Day to bring our families out to the range to see what their Soldiers do on a daily basis, the training they go through [on] the new equipment we just fielded as part of Army modernization,” said Lt. Col. James E. Perkins, commander of the 6th Sqn., 8th Cav. Regt., 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “[The Family Day] really matters to the Soldiers for a couple of reasons … it shows that we really care about our families, that we want then to be part of our Army team, that we value them; it also builds those strong connections that make our unit great. It also matters because it allows us to showcase to our families the type of training we do … so they have confidence that when their Soldiers deploy that they not only have the most modernized equipment, they know how to use it and that their units are looking out for their families back home and their Soldiers downrange.
The Mustang Squadron Family Day consisted of a cookout, a static display of three tanks and one ambulatory tracked vehicle, and a live fire demonstration of the modernized tank.
“Today is a celebration of the families,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Eddy Perez, senior enlisted advisor of the 6th Sqn., 8th Cav. Regt., 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “The families can interact with and see the equipment their Soldiers work on all day.”
The event also became an opportunity for some Soldiers to see their families during the middle of an almost two-week training exercise and to give families the ability to visualize what their Soldiers are doing during their field training.
“Getting to see our family … dead in the middle of the training will … boost our morale to finish out through the week and get back to them,” said Sgt. Caleb Clark, an M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank gunner assigned to Delta Company, 6th Sqn., 8th Cav. Regt., 2nd ABCT.
Clark finds it hard to explain exactly what he does all day to his wife sometimes. Clark said his wife can now better visualize his day after getting in the vehicle, the turret, and seeing the different electronics and equipment inside.
Clark’s father, Bo Clark, also came to the family day and was able to see the kind of training his son does as a tank gunner. He said, “It makes your heart feel good … so for the family it gives us a good sense of pride to see our son out there doing what he does best.”
The the Mustang Squadron Family Day was among the first big unit family days at a training range post COVID-19 pandemic and was the first family day on Fort Stewart to witness a live fire of the modernized M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tank.
“So [the family day is] also really special because coming out of all the COVID lockdowns and the separations that we’ve all endured it allow[ed] us to bring our families together and really share this and share what we do together and rebuild those bonds as we move forward,” said Perkins.