By Sgt. Quentin Johnson, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsOctober 2, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas -- As situational training and gunnery approaches, support units have a separate set of skills that must be utilized and perfected for gunnery to succeed.
Ensuring they are ready, Delta Forward Support Troop, 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team "Black Jack," 1st Cavalry Division, conducted a convoy lane training exercise here, Sept. 26.
The approximate six-mile lane consisted of four training scenarios: a road block with a friendly foreign encounter, react to contact or ambush, identifying an improvised explosive device or unexploded ordnance, and reacting to IED with vehicle recovery operations.
Convoy training was essential for the FST Soldiers to prepare them for convoys they will execute during future deployments, scheduled Joint Readiness Training Center exercises, situational training exercises and gunnery, explained 2nd Lt. John Adams, a platoon leader with the FSC.
"We need to expose the Soldiers to tactical situations they may encounter during gunnery or a deployment," he added. "All situations are plausible and may happen while a convoy is taking place during overseas operations."
The idea of using positive and negative scenarios was intended to teach Soldiers that not all situations in combat are life threatening, Adams said.
"(FSC leadership) wanted mixed scenarios to enhance the Soldiers situational awareness. They need to expect anything during a combat situation whether friendly or not," Adams stated.
Pfc. Adrian Feliz, a small arms repairer for FSC agreed with Adams, stating that having conducted convoys in combat he is always ready to react to any situation.
"I am always ready to be friendly with the locals, understanding that we share support of a common cause," Feliz said. "However, I am always on guard and ready to react just in case something bad happens."
As his first extensive convoy training experience goes, Feliz said he was impressed with the preparation, communication and variety of situations offered.
"I honestly thought there would be a little chaos at the beginning of the exercise," Feliz added. "It didn't turn out that way though. The training was great, a lot of good scenarios with things turning out well overall."
Additionally, the training assured truck crews would bond, working together effectively while achieving success in each of their separate roles.
"The lanes provided crews with an environment to work on their cohesion as an effective team," Adams said. "It also provided each member an opportunity to enhance their individual skill set such as the gunner's position or truck commander."
Feliz said he feels more confident as a gunner and his team works well together despite any fine details that may need to be worked on.
"My driver and TC did a great job … great communication came from those two," Feliz added. "I feel more confident with our experience, and I am ready as a gunner for any convoy when upon."
More convoy training is scheduled for next month.