By Maj. Chad Carroll, 4th BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.February 13, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - The 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team hosted a Bulgarian general at Sugarloaf Multi-Purpose Range as part of his visit here Feb. 5.
In order to gain a better understanding of the U.S. Army's transformation and the importance of non-commissioned officers, Lt. Gen. Ivan Dobrev also visited Washington, D.C., Fort Polk, La., and Fort Benning, Ga.
"During briefings at III Corps headquarters, we managed to exchange opinions on the transformation of the U.S. Army," said Dobrev through his translator. "This experience has been very valuable for transformation of the Bulgarian Armed Forces. We are currently undergoing transformation also."
The Cobra Brigade's 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, demonstrated their preparations for Iraq and specifically, convoy live-fire training, for the general. Maj. Chuck Rush, 1-12 Inf. Regt., operations officer, and Sgt. 1st Class James Powell, a platoon sergeant from Company B, 1-12 Inf. Regt., briefed Dobrev, Brig. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim, III Corps rear commander and Lt. Col. Mark Nelson, acting 4th Brigade commander, before conducting the training.
"This is a great to opportunity to showcase our Soldiers and NCOs to the Chief of Staff of the Bulgarian Army who is here, among other things, like giving them ideas for developing their own NCO Corps," said Rudesheim.
Rush first provided the generals with an overview of the live fire process and highlighted the role of NCOs in developing and executing the training.
"The training today was developed by NCOs because they are the ones leading patrols in Iraq," he said.
Rush then turned the briefing over to Powell who demonstrated the best of what the NCO corps has to offer.
Powell explained his function as platoon sergeant and noted that he is currently leading the platoon without a lieutenant assigned as platoon leader. While serving as both platoon leader and platoon sergeant, his focus is on keeping his Soldiers safe while executing the mission.
"This is why NCOs are called the backbone of the Army," Powell said.
A veteran of three tours to Iraq, Powell then took the generals through the "crawl, walk and run" steps of training before the group observed the actual convoy live-fire. A four-vehicle convoy engaged targets at various distances with their mounted machine guns.
1-12 Inf. Regt.'s live fire was part of the brigade's larger training plan in preparation for the unit's scheduled deployment to Iraq in summer 2008. It is a time of tremendous change for the brigade, which is scheduled to reflag from 4th Inf. Div. to 1st Cav. Div. on Mar. 7 in a ceremony at Fort Hood.
Three members of Dobrev's staff also attended the training: Brig. Gen. Dimitrov Torlakov, Col. Serguey Lalov and Lt. Col. Ivaylo Bratoychev