2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment “Patriots” conduct live-fire exercise

By Spc. Joshua LinfootJanuary 24, 2024

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michelle Schmidt, commander of 7th Infantry Division, engages with her troops before a live-fire exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 9, 2024. This live-fire exercise was conducted in preparation for the battalion attending the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. It is crucial for Soldiers to hone their combat readiness, adapt to real-world scenarios, and enhance their ability to operate in any environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joshua Linfoot).
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michelle Schmidt, commander of 7th Infantry Division, engages with her troops before a live-fire exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 9, 2024. This live-fire exercise was conducted in preparation for the battalion attending the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. It is crucial for Soldiers to hone their combat readiness, adapt to real-world scenarios, and enhance their ability to operate in any environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joshua Linfoot). (Photo Credit: Spc. Joshua Linfoot) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Soldiers, assigned 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, perform reconnaissance and surveillance during a live-fire exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 9, 2024. This live-fire exercise was conducted in preparation for the battalion attending the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. It is crucial for Soldiers to hone their combat readiness, adapt to real-world scenarios, and enhance their ability to operate in any environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joshua Linfoot).
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Soldiers, assigned 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, perform reconnaissance and surveillance during a live-fire exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 9, 2024. This live-fire exercise was conducted in preparation for the battalion attending the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. It is crucial for Soldiers to hone their combat readiness, adapt to real-world scenarios, and enhance their ability to operate in any environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joshua Linfoot). (Photo Credit: Spc. Joshua Linfoot) VIEW ORIGINAL
A U.S. Army Soldier, assigned 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, provides security for Soldiers clearing an obstacle during a live-fire exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 9, 2024. This live-fire exercise was conducted in preparation for the battalion attending the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. It is crucial for Soldiers to hone their combat readiness, adapt to real-world scenarios, and enhance their ability to operate in any environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joshua Linfoot).
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army Soldier, assigned 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, provides security for Soldiers clearing an obstacle during a live-fire exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Jan. 9, 2024. This live-fire exercise was conducted in preparation for the battalion attending the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. It is crucial for Soldiers to hone their combat readiness, adapt to real-world scenarios, and enhance their ability to operate in any environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joshua Linfoot). (Photo Credit: Spc. Joshua Linfoot) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, "Patriots'', 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, 7th Infantry Division, conducted a Live Fire Exercise (LFX) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord during the month of January, a critical step in preparations for their forthcoming annual rotation to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
Lt. Col. Ian MacGregor, commander of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, emphasized the profound significance of this exercise while observing training for Charger Company, illuminating the unique opportunities the winter season brings to training.

“Both platoons from Charger Company are prepared to go to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California,” said Lt. Col. Ian MacGregor.

“This training event builds towards mastery,” said MacGregor “The benefit of doing this in the winter season is that we are able to use tracer ammunition and live mortar fire, something that, unlike during the summer here at JBLM and the Yakima Training Center, we cannot use.”

The use of live munitions adds a degree of realism that soldiers don’t normally get to experience during training.

“The soldiers will get to see, hear, smell, and experience the full battlefield effects of a platoon live fire exercise,” said MacGregor.

Echoing these sentiments, Maj. Gen. Michelle A. Schmidt, commander of 7th Infantry Division, emphasized the intrinsic value of teamwork, particularly in the challenging winter conditions.
"This is what it's all about,” Schmidt said. “This is why these soldiers join.”

“They're very fired up, they're very motivated to come out here and do their jobs,” said Schmidt. “The weather is a little bit of an issue, but it brings the teams together and offers a good team-building experience and allows them to train on their craft.”

As Schmidt pointed out, Washington state’s frequent rain and intermittent sunshine offer a unique environment for military training. This dynamic backdrop not only challenges forces to adapt to diverse terrains but also serves as a way to strengthen camaraderie amongst team members.

Sgt. Mekhi Atkinson, a squad leader in Charger Company, reflecting on the experience, highlighted the effect training had on his own team’s cohesiveness.

“Once you get out of the mindset of, I'm cold and wet and focus on that I’m out here with my friends and having a good time, you start to learn a lot about yourself,” said Atkinson.

The live-fire exercise included training in how to breach obstacles, clear buildings and maneuver in a volatile environment. Atkinson pointed out that this was the culminating event, the unit’s final training before NTC. His platoon had already completed the blank firing portion of the training, showcasing their proficiency in essential combat tactics.

The live fire exercise transcends its role as a mere certification process; it fosters an environment conducive to team cohesion and camaraderie, said Lt. Col. MacGregor. The soldiers, cognizant of the broader significance of their training, recognize that it prepares them not just for certification but also equips them to face the unpredictable challenges of real-world deployments.

As they navigate the cold and wet conditions, these soldiers emerge resilient, united and poised to tackle any mission that lies ahead, embodying the unwavering spirit of military professionalism.