Dagger families see what Soldiers do
Emilie Muramoto and Creig T. Smith,
5th Armored Brigade, First Army Division West:
MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. – Oftentimes there can be a disconnection between what Soldiers do and what their families think they do. Military family members of 5th Armored Brigade were able to bridge that disconnection and find out what their Soldiers did for their organization when they attended the brigade’s Dagger Day at McGregor Range, N.M., Aug. 17.
Some spouses saw it as an opportunity to support their Soldiers.
“To be supportive of my husband, the troops, and what they do at work,” said Christina Garcia when asked about her reasons for coming to Dagger Day. Garcia is the wife of Staff Sgt. Alberto J. Garcia, observer-controller/trainer for close quarters combat for 1st Battalion, 360th Regiment (Infantry).
Four stations offered demonstrations for family members to see and participate in Combat Lifesaver, or CLS, training, explore the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, climb into an MRAP Egress Trainer, MET, handle mock weapons, operate robotics, and sit in the driver’s seat of the Route Clearance Simulator.
Terrance Thomas said his favorite station was the Route Clearance Simulator, and he liked the gunner’s position. Terrance is 16 years old and the son of Sgt. Felicia Jackson. Jackson is from the Texas National Guard and serves as an observer-controller/trainer for the CLS training lane for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
Four-year-old Charlene Switzer said she liked practicing with the medical practice mannequins. She is the daughter of Master Sgt. Vance Switzer, noncommissioned officer in charge for the CLS lane.
For the “try it” experience, families tried on stethoscopes, pressure dressings and inserted a trachea tube into a medical mannequin.
There were approximately 130 families at Dagger Day.
“We come out every year,” said Joe Schmitz, information specialist for 5th Armored Brigade. “The kids love the EST 2000 shooting simulator, but this year, I think their favorite will be the [MRAP] rollover trainer.”
The MRAP Egress Trainer instructs Joint Warfighters on how to escape from an MRAP rollover. To find out what an MRAP rollover feels like, Dagger Day families put on advanced combat helmets and body armor. They climbed the metal stairs, buckled in and the MRAP Egress Trainer began to roll 40 degrees to the left and right.
“The girls are having a great time,” said Staff Sgt. Chamberlain Wolfe, observer-controller/trainer for 3rd Battalion, 364th Regiment (Engineer).
Next stop was to visit Al Hadis Village to see Close Quarters Combat training given by the observer-controller/trainers of 1st Bn., 360th Regt. (Infantry). In this event, the families saw the trainers demonstrate clearing a building. A smoke grenade launched to conceal a squad who focused on taking a building where opposing forces hid. Once the smoke cleared from scene, it was the families’ turn at trying a four-man stack carrying dummy weapons. Their award for going through Close Quarters Combat Training at this year’s Dagger Day was a certificate of completion.
Dagger families stopped for lunch that was prepared by staff members at the McGregor Dining Facility.
Staff Sgt. Monserrat Varela, 3rd Bn., 364th Regt. (Engineer), summed up the day:
“It was a first-hand look for our families to see what we do and the relevance of our mission.”
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