Bartonville-Based Infantry Soldiers Get Back to the Basics
Story by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/11/2012)(readMedia)-- Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment in Bartonville participated in squad live-fire exercises at the Infantry Platoon Battle Course as part of the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program July 9 at Camp Ripley, Minn.
"This training is the culmination of what we have been doing over the last year," said 1st Lt. Chris K. Rodgers of Macomb, battalion liaison officer of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment. "This is a validation lane for what we are going to be doing July 12. There the companies will run through platoon-size, live-fire exercises."
As with much Army-based training, a crawl, walk, run approach was used. Soldiers were briefed they were in a reconnaissance patrol, came upon enemy contact and had to destroy the enemy with their weapons, clearing the way for future movement.
"It's a real slow pace right now as we're learning," said Spc. Waylon S. Holland of Columbia, Mo., with Company A. "We spent a lot of time with rehearsals trying to better fit each other. I think this will be foundational and a crucial part to our XCTC experience."
During the rehearsals each squad moved tactically until engaged by pop-up targets and then responded with blank-round ammunition. Soon after, the squads repeated the movement with live rounds.
"This training is simulating (received) contact on a dismounted patrol," said Pfc. Collin A. Watts of Plainfield, with Company A. "We're practicing bounding techniques, which are basic movement techniques within a squad."
Although the movements are basic infantry tactics, the importance of knowing and employing them are vital to mission success and Soldier safety.
"Every infantryman will know this ... this is as basic as it gets," said Cpl. Paul A. Minder of Roanoke, team leader with Company A. "This is something they have to practice; they have to know."
The acknowledgement of risk and the seriousness of the exercise was expressed by others as well.
"It comes down to knowing who's on your right and left, knowing how to communicate and knowing how to give and follow orders," said Capt. Nick P. Camardo of Rockford, Company A commander. "It's essential they know how to take the proper steps and keep the weapon pointed down range and at the enemy. It's important for them to continue to train like this and I'm confident they will be good to go by the end of the day."
Company A made safety a priority and took the necessary precautions to ensure the Soldiers stayed safe throughout the exercise.
"There will be one range personnel, one medic, and two internal company safeties who will walk with every squad," said Rodgers.
After Camardo validates squads, the battalion commander will validate the platoons and then Company A can be validated and complete a large portion of their pre-mobilization tasks.
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Spc. Waylon S. Holland of Columbia, Mo., with Company A, 1st battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment in Bartonville, shoots an azimuth in preparation for squad-level tactical movements June 9 at Camp Ripley, Minn. The movements were part of a validation process using live-fire exercises during eXportable Combat Training Capability program at Camp Ripley, Minn.
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Cpl. Paul A. Minder of Roanoke, Spc. Waylon S. Holland of Columbia, Mo., and Pfc. Collin A. Watts of Plainfield, all with Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment in Bartonville, bound while the other half of their squad covers them June 9 at Camp Ripley, Minn. The Soldiers participated in a practice run before moving on to a live-fire movement with live rounds during the eXportable Combat Training Capability program at Camp Ripley, Minn.
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jesse Houk, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Cpl. Paul A. Minder of Roanoke directs Pfc. Collin A. Watts of Plainfield during the practice run of the live-fire exercises as a part of the eXportable Combat Training Capability program June 9 at Camp Ripley, Minn. Both Soldiers are a part of the Bartonville-based Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment.