‘Attack’ Co. tackles tactical obstacles during Iron Focus
Sgt. Terence Ewings,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
Soldiers from A Company “Attack,” 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, tested their tactical training skills during a field training exercise April 25.
As part of Operation Iron Focus, the 1st Armored Division Soldiers were tasked to execute collective training exercises for the four-week event.
“During this exercise we have the opportunity to conduct collective culminating training in preparation for a future training exercises and a possible deployment next year,” said Capt. Joe A. Gonzales, A Co. commander.
Currently preparing for a National Training Center rotation at Fort Irwin, Calif., later this fall, the company took time to focus on their tactical procedures and patrolling techniques during the days’ training.
During the react and contact lanes, the Soldiers encountered and engaged obstacles while navigating through mounted, dismounted and improvised explosive device training lanes.
The scenarios allowed the Soldiers to showcase their ability to react to contact and eliminate enemy threats.
“We’re practicing these scenarios to build that muscle memory for our Soldiers so that their actions become second nature to them,” said Gonzales. “It also helps to build confidence for the troops. If they know and believe they can do it, it will help us to focus on correcting our shortcomings without worrying about making minor mistakes due to someone being nervous or unsure of themselves.”
In addition to engaging the obstacles in the field, the company was also tasked with integrating additional personnel into their unit, while accomplishing the mission at hand.
Capt. Michael Jones, a civil affairs officer assigned to the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion from Fort Hood, Texas, was one of the additional troops that augmented the unit.
“This is a really good training opportunity for all of us,” said Jones. “We’re coaching and mentoring these infantry troops so that they have some civil affairs tools in their skill set, and at the same time I’m getting to focus on some of my tactical military skills that I don’t get to rehearse a lot.”
In addition to civil affairs personnel, the company was also assigned additional combat medic Soldiers and embedded civilian media.
Jones, who had similar tactical training prior to his deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, believes that rehearsing these battle drills and procedures with the additional personnel is essential in having a successful overseas tour.
“When you have so many people with their own individual skill sets working as one element it can be really effective,” said Jones. “The key is learning how to work as one, and get the most out of your enablers and augmented personnel.”
After rehearsing different battle drills and scenarios during the 18-hour exercise, the Soldiers performed after-action reviews to focus on the successful aspects of the mission that were accomplished and figure out what the troops could improve upon.
“Practicing the movements, rehearsing the battle drills and moving out as one unit are all important concepts that Soldiers need to be familiar with,” said Sgt. 1st Class Erick Figueroa, platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon, A Co.
Figueroa said he believes his troops did well executing the mission and is looking forward to seeing the company implement their battle drills at NTC this fall.
“My guys are doing a phenomenal job, and I am proud of them,” said Figueroa. “After this four-week exercise is complete next month I’m going to tell them exactly that, but for right now I’m going to keep them motivated and focused on improving so that we can be at our best as a whole.”
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