By Mrs. Cheryl Rodewig (Benning)May 23, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Like countless cycles of classes before them, students in the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course successfully completed a live fire followed by a company attack exercise last week on post. Unlike any before them, the missions were combined-arms endeavors conducted at the tank-accessible Digital Multi-Purpose Range Complex.
"This is the first time since they've moved the Armor School down to Fort Benning that they've been able to integrate tanks and an Infantry platoon in a live-fire exercise," said Capt. Brandon Pye, senior platoon trainer for C Company, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment.
"Here, you have an Infantry platoon of all lieutenants -- so guys who've been in the Army for 14 weeks at this point. Half these guys are going to go to mechanized Infantry and combined-arms battalions, and this helps them visualize how to synchronize effects on the battlefield."
While coordinating with so many moving pieces may be new to the students, Pye said it's something that will be expected of them when they join their units.
"This is the way the Army fights," he said. "We fight as a team."
The live fire, held May 15 and Wednesday, included a tank section, made up of two M1A2 Abrams tanks. The company attack Thursday added in a scout section with two Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
"That is the first time as a platoon leader that I got to coordinate (with) Armor and see how everything works on the ground," said 2nd Lt. Justin Collis, who was part of the live fire May 15.
"When you add Armor … now you also have to know what they're doing," he said. "You have to keep track of where everybody's at. It becomes much more challenging."
Despite -- or because of -- the challenge, both events provided valuable training, Collis said.
"They both went extremely well," he said. "We spent a lot of time planning and rehearsing, so we could get a lot out of the training."
Collis said he also appreciated meeting with the tank and Bradley commanders to coordinate details of the exercise.
Soldiers from E Company, 3rd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, supported the training in both the planning and execution stages.
"It was a really great exercise," Pye said. "They did a great job. It was definitely a success."
The students are slated to graduate in one week.