By SGT Joe PadulaNovember 16, 2012
FORT CAMPBELL, KY -- When the bullets are flying and the enemy is sight, a Soldier's heart is beating fast, his adrenaline is pumping and his mind races, but he keeps his cool, maintains his composure and eliminates the enemy.
The only way he reaches that level of skill is by continuous training and the deploying Strike Force Security Force Assistance Teams from the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), played out this heart racing scenario by conducting a stress shoot training exercise at Fort Campbell's Range 40a, Feb. 16.
In full combat gear and with live ammunition locked and loaded, the Strike Force Soldiers tested their physical fitness, improved their fundamental shooting skills and developed self awareness about the difficulties of shooting in a high stress, combat environment as they better prepare themselves to face the challenges of a 9-month deployment to Afghanistan.
"This course assess your physical fitness and your marksmanship and if you can control your heart rate and breathing, theoretically you can hit what you are aiming at," said Sgt. Maj. John White, the Strike Force command sergeant major.
Being timed and working as a two-man team, the Soldiers began the course by sprinting 200-meters, engaged the first target, 200-meters away, with their M4 carbine. After 10-rounds shot from the kneeling and prone firing positions, the Soldiers sprinted another 50-meters towards the target and fired again. After a total of five separate sprints covering a distance of 370-meters and then using their sidearm weapon at a close-quarter target, the Strike Force Soldiers completed the course in between six to seven minutes effectively hitting their marks.
"Fitness play a big role in this," said a hard breathing Capt. James Nardelli, part of the brigade's deploying Security Force Assistance Team. "The better shape you are in, the quicker you can lower your heart rate, increasing the effectiveness of your firepower. This is a key training event for the upcoming deployment."
The deployment training continued as the SFAT Soldiers assembled and patrolled through the nearby woods and came upon a mass-casualty sight. The Soldiers provided care-under-fire, assessed and treated the wounded then took the steps in evacuating the casualties, within a 25-minute time limit.
"It's very important to incorporate the medical treatment with the infantry tactics in order to evacuate casualties from the front lines," said Sgt. Manuel Valdez, a combat medic with Strike Force's Headquarters and Headquarters Company. "The terrain in Afghanistan is different then here, but the training is the same and as long as the basic framework is complete, it can be done anywhere."
The teams would then drag two weighted medical liters about 100-meters to the extraction point, thus completing the training. The concentration for the Strike Force Soldiers has been on physical and mental fitness as they prepare for their mission to advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces in securing the Afghan people.
"We will continue to focus on fitness and this training validates if your physical fitness program is working," said White.