Alpha Soldiers train to shoot, communicate

By Sgt. Nancy Deweese, Old Guard Public AffairsJanuary 7, 2010

Scan your lane
Sgt. 1st Class Theodore Tremblay, platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Company A, aims and shoots as Staff Sgt. David Butler looks on. Conditions of cold weather, rain and mud did not deter the Soldiers of Company A as they worked on the basics of infa... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Shoot, move, communicate. These three words encompass a Soldier\'s most basic training directive. If a Soldier can effectively do all three of these things, he will be successful in any tactical missions he encounters. Because knowing how to shoot, move and communicate is so vital to the success of a mission, tactical training often focuses on these basics. Soldiers train in buddy live fires as the first step in progressive training, said Staff Sgt. Michael Casey, a squad leader in 2nd Platoon. ''These are the fundamental basics that will get the Soldiers to more complex maneuvers." After the Soldiers master the buddy live fires, they will move to shooting as a team, a squad, a platoon and finally as a company. The most important dynamic of a buddy live fire is communication between partners, said Spc. Ian Zibell, a said squad automatic machine gunner with 2nd Platoon. ''You need to know when your partner is moving, reloading or when he has a weapons malfunction," he said. Communication can prove to be a challenge during live fire exercises because of the loud gunfire and the distance between the Soldiers. ''Obviously the weapons make a lot of noise," said Zibell. ''Sometimes your field of vision might be obscured." Because of that, Soldiers often must use other ways of communicating with each other. ''Sometimes the gunfire is the communication tool," said Zibell. ''When one is suppressing, he knows his buddy is moving. Once the buddy starts firing, the suppressor knows he is in position, and so the guy who was suppressing can move." Although the weather made the training more difficult, Zibell was able to see the value in these conditions. ''Bad weather brings everyone together because it gives everyone something to complain about," he said. ''The best part of training in rain and cold is being able to see the whole platoon work together to become better Soldiers." Pfc. Kyle McDowell, a rifleman from 2nd Platoon, has been in The Old Guard for six months. As an Old Guard Soldier, much of what he has been tasked with at the unit has been ceremonial duties. Being in the field, despite the weather, was a welcome change of pace for McDowell. ''Going to the field - it's why I joined the Army," he said. ''I like shooting weapons. The training we are getting today is very useful training for real-life situations." Casey agreed with McDowell, saying that buddy live fires are the first step before doing a battle drill live fire. A battle drill is a series of maneuvers rapidly executed without using the deliberate decision making process, said Casey. Battle drills help Soldiers become accustomed to reacting to hostile enemy contact more quickly and efficiently. If battle drills are practiced enough, the Soldiers can react on instinct when coming under fire," Casey said. ''We do it so much that when it's time to do it in a real-life situation, it's automatic to these guys.