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10th Sustainment Brigade Soldiers shoot, move, communicate

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The 10th Sustainment Brigade’s Command Security Team took advantage of a training window to conduct full-spectrum range operations on East River Range in Afghanistan May 23, 2012.

Continuation of training while deployed is vital to maintaining proficiency at key tasks including shooting, moving and communicating. Capt. Danny Janssen, the brigade CST officer in charge assigned to 10th SBDE, derived the exercises directly from the team’s mission essential task list. The training was designed to prepare soldiers and leaders for worst-case scenarios they might face on missions within Regional Commands East, Capital and North.

“The soldiers gained valuable confidence in the execution of our battle drills, tactics, techniques and procedures and their skills by being forced to react under pressure and make split-second decisions,” said Janssen.

Janssen also said the training was made worthwhile because of the soldiers’ motivation level.

“They were conducting the ranges and live-fire exercises outside the wire while maintaining a constant security posture,” said Janssen. “They kept their motivation for more than nine intense hours, operating in the heat in full body armor at 4,000 feet elevation. The soldiers made the training a success; plans and management can only go so far.”

Upon completion of a MK 19 grenade launcher range, the team conducted reflexive fire exercises taught by Sgt. Richard Stull, a medic, and Sgt. Edward Monell a team leader, both assigned to the CST. The exercise was aimed at improving the team’s comfort level at engaging targets under unfavorable conditions from a variety of positions.

“We have to be comfortable with eliminating targets while moving and communicating,” said Janssen. “The terrain within our operational environment will often not permit us to stay mounted in case of a complex attack after an IED strike for instance.”

The team culminated its range operation with a live-fire exercise, which focused on immediate actions taken after an IED or rocket propelled grenade is followed by a complex attack. The scenario tested the leaders and soldiers on aiding casualties, vehicle recovery operations, identifying and engaging targets and assaulting the enemy objective. The training required quick thinking and was physically demanding, forcing the soldiers to prioritize tasks and conduct several operations simultaneously.

Effective communication played a pivotal role in ensuring that the suppressive fire elements were accurately coordinated with the assaulting element in order to aggressively eliminate the threat and ensure the safety of soldiers on the ground.

Staff Sgt. Derek Gallagher, the CST non-commissioned officer in charge, said that the intent of the training was met since all soldiers fired the MK 19 and were trained on reflexive fire techniques. He said that the live-fire exercise improved the team’s core tasks to shoot, move and communicate.

Pfc. Joey Limon, a small arms and artillery repairer assigned to the CST, was a vital part of conducting the training. Prior to any mission, Limon is responsible for ensuring that all weapons are fully operational. Due to his hard work, the team had no issues with any of the weapons systems during the training.

“The training prepared us for future events and helped us sharpen our skill against the enemy,” said Limon. “It was realistic. It seemed like scenarios that could actually happen.”

Article by Sgt. Abraham Wallie, 10th Sustainment Brigade