By MAJ Mike NicholsonSeptember 25, 2009
CAMP HOVEY, South Korea -- Serving as the eyes and ears for a Heavy Brigade Combat Team is no easy task. Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry recently found out how critical communication is during a training exercise in the mountainous terrain of Korea.
Slashing Sabers, a platoon-level exercise focused on the essential tactics of the cavalry, recently took place at a local training area outside Camp Hovey.
"This training was all about getting our Soldiers out of garrison and into the field," said 1st Lt. Brian Kern, platoon leader. "We have a lot of new Soldiers in the unit so we have been focused on basic Warrior tasks and drills, practicing boarding the vehicle, setting up our assembly area, that sort of thing."
This was Kern's first time in the field with his Soldiers as a platoon leader. "I was out during a previous field exercise but at the time wasn't that actual platoon leader," he said. "Personally, I'm focused on how my platoon sergeant and I are interacting and communicating with each other, and making sure we are doing the right things for our team."
Each platoon conducted training in a particular lane throughout the day. Kern's lane started with a zone reconnaissance, a standard mission for cavalry units. The mission quickly transitioned to other training objectives.
"It was a challenge; we had to take into consideration all the actions that were going on at the same time," said Kern.
Communication among all the units proved essential to a mission success. The platoon received simulated incoming artillery rounds, suffered a "casualty" simulated through an injury card and confronted contamination by an unknown chemical agent.
"It was real hot out there today," said Pfc. James McFarland, a cavalry scout with 1st Platoon. "I performed combat lifesaver techniques for my buddy, who had a back wound. I placed him on his side, stayed with him, and we got him evacuated out of here and over to the helicopter."
MacFarland provided initial care as the first responder, while others in his platoon called in the 9-line Medevac report to evacuate the Soldier.
"It was rough," said MacFarland. "I couldn't see anything with the chemical gear on and it was real hot, but it was good training."
The lane concluded with a helicopter evacuation of the injured Soldier courtesy of the Camp Casey Troop Medical Clinic.
"We identified some things to improve upon, but it was a good exercise from the individual level on up to the platoon level," said Kern. "Next time out we'll just be that much better."