News: Stryker brigade infantrymen train to manage stress while engaging enemy
Story by Sgt. Ryan Hohman
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – “You can’t replicate getting shot at, but what we can do is stress them out physically and mentally and have them try to engage a target.”
That’s what Sgt. 1st Class Jayson Teague, 1st Platoon Sergeant with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, and Devine, Texas, native, had to say of the stress shoot his company held Oct. 23 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
“A stress shoot is designed to train soldiers at firing under stressful conditions,” explained Teague.
The exercise began with a one-and-a-half mile run. Soldiers had to complete the run while wearing all of their combat gear.
Immediately following the run, the soldiers had to engage targets with their assigned M4 carbine rifle from five different locations, all while under the pressure the trainers.
This all proved to be “pretty intense” for Pfc. Joseph Maurer, an infantryman with A Company.
“The [range cadre] did a good job getting into my head. I got a little shaky there at the beginning and I felt the urge to shoot faster,” said Maurer.
The stress shoot is designed specifically to place pressure on soldiers so they are better prepared to perform under the similar stressors they could experience while operating in a combat environment.
“This training is important, because in combat you will never find yourself in a totally calm state of mind physically and mentally when you are engaging targets,” said Teague. “You will always be shooting under some kind of stress, and the best way we can replicate that is by what we are doing here today.”
Ensuring soldiers have the confidence to maintain a level head in combat is important, and for Maurer, the exercise did just that.
“I felt this training prepared me to fire accurately in a stressful environment by helping me overcome my nerves so I’m not freaking out [while] firing rounds down range,” said Maurer.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the training was allowing soldiers to experience first-hand how they would personally react in a nerve-racking situation, and if the scores are any indication, the infantrymen of A Company can be counted on to respond appropriately when the pressure mounts in combat.
“The soldiers are doing great and the scores show that,” said Teague. “The one thing I want the soldiers to take away is no matter how physically or mentally fatigued, exhausted or stressed they are, they still need to be able to hit targets and maintain their composure under stress.”