By Spc. Justin Naylor, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.August 13, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas- When it comes to military training, the most important lessons aren't usually learned from battalion, company or even platoon-level training. They're learned hands on in a small squad.
For infantrymen from 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Aug. 10 presented an opportunity to practice the most fundamental infantry skills with their squad mates during live-fire training on Fort Hood, Texas.
Soldiers honed their basic squad movements, reacted to contact, cleared trenches and practiced hand and arm signals.
"The goal of this is to get us all in sync, so when we deploy we are all on the same page," said squad leader, Sgt. Jeremy Brister, from Pleasanton, Texas.
Brister explained that training like this helps squad members better understand one another and gives them an opportunity to pinpoint deficiencies and make corrections as necessary.
He couldn't emphasize enough just how important it is to have a well functioning squad.
"While we were in Iraq last time we did about 250 dismounted patrols as a squad," he said. "We have to make sure communication is on point and we can operate as a squad."
Since the unit returned to Fort Hood from deployment late last year, a lot of Soldiers have been coming and going.
For Pvt. Kyle Brock, from Ahoskie, N.C., who joined the squad less than a week ago after finishing basic and advanced individual training, this training was the first time he had gone to the field with his new squad mates.
"This helps get me up to speed with how they do things," he said. "It [also] helped me figure out my mistakes and fix them."
According to Brock, the training was a big confidence builder because it gave him a chance to see the abilities his squad had and know that he had plenty of senior Soldiers to learn from.
For the leaders, the training was also a chance to make sure their Soldiers are getting back to basics.
"This training builds their confidence in the basic skills and tactics that are their jobs as infantrymen," said 1st Lt. Jason Falcone, of Lafayette, Colo., the platoon leader in charge of Brister's squad.
What his squad practiced during the training are basic infantry skills; this is the foundation they will build upon, he explained.
From here, Falcone said, the squads will continue training and eventually integrate into larger platoon and company level training operations.