ARTEMUS, Ky. – After spending the past year in Kosovo, Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, known as “Mountain Warriors,” completed two weeks of annual training.
During the training at the Harold L. Disney Training Center June 3-17, the infantry Soldiers went through refresher classes on combat lifesaving techniques, reacting to contact on the battlefield, observation and mapping, radio basics, concealment basics and weapon familiarization.
The weapon portion required the Soldiers to break down and reassemble several weapon systems while timed. After a morning full of practice, they competed for the fastest times.
“It was awesome to see the guys compete against each other,” said Pfc. Christian Griebenow, a weapons trainer with the 1/149th. “As a trainer, I felt I needed to set the standard on the time for the M240. Once Sgt. James Bray broke his own personal record, I felt obligated to improve and beat his time. It’s just been an ongoing competition and a good morale booster. Watching everyone enjoy it made me feel like I accomplished my role this year.”
One of the highlights of the training was when the medics taught the Soldiers how to care for injured Soldiers, starting from the moment of injury on the battlefield to making the 9-line medevac request.
“The medical training is designed to test infantrymen on proper and effective medical treatment while under fire,” said Spc. Logan Festervan, a medic with the 1/149th. “We break the training down to a ‘crawl, walk, run’ technique, making it a simple and effective way to prepare them for situations that they may encounter. All the training is necessary to keep everyone on the same page and ready if called into action.”
The training builds on the basic skills to compete for proficiency badges and foster camaraderie in the unit.
“We have trained and evaluated Soldiers on the Expert Infantry Badge and Expert Soldier Badge tasks. This leads to Soldiers being more proficient in these tasks and to becoming a better Soldier as a whole,” said Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Ashley, acting first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company and ropes course instructor.
While most of the battalion trained for the EIB, 33 infantry Soldiers competed for the badge at Fort Barfoot, Virginia. The seven who received the badge were Army Cpt. Brennan McGuire, C Co.; 1st Lt. Kyle Taylor, HHC; Sgt. 1st Class Casey Lindsey, I Co.; Staff Sgt. Jacob Wright, C Co.; Staff Sgt. Gregory Thiemann, B Co.; Sgt. Jerry Marksbury III, C Co., and Sgt. Baylor Napier, C. Co.
“The fact that more than half of the Soldiers selected to wear the distinguished Expert Infantry Badge came from 1-149th shows the level of great character, commitment, and skill we have as infantry Soldiers,” said Sgt. Maj. Anthony Hughes. “It also proves that with enough effort and proper training from the leaders in our battalion, we can achieve a high level of success in training, which also prepares us for the battlefield.”
Sgt. Jerry Marksbury won the coveted top-earning 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team “Iron Mike Award” for passing each stage of the competition as a first-time Go.