News: Shoot! Move! And communicate!
Story by Maj. Will Cox
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Stealthily moving between the pine trees and under the Spanish moss at Fort Stewart, Georgia Guardsmen of the 3-108th Reconnaissance and Surveillance Squadron are honing their individual field craft skills to accomplish platoon level missions in early March.
The 3-108th R&S is in the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) reset year, and for the squadron commander it is back to the basics for this year’s annual training.
“It is all about training the next generation during this reset year,” said Maj. Michael Lipper, 3-108th R&S squadron commander. “Shoot, move and communicate. We ran weapons qualification ranges to kick off our annual training followed by squad and platoon level maneuver exercises with a key task of exercising their communication equipment throughout the maneuver exercises.”
An R&S squadron usually includes a Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT), Alpha and Bravo Troop, and a Charlie Company. The Alpha and Bravo Troops are mounted and are primarily composed of 19D, cavalry scouts, mounted in up-armored Humvees. Charlie Company is composed of primarily 11B, infantrymen, who are trained to conduct airborne insertions behind enemy lines to perform long range surveillance on our adversaries.
“Basically, we conduct surveillance operations for our assigned combatant commanders, on both sides of the enemy’s forward line of troops,” said Lipper. “Alpha and Bravo conduct surveillance operations on the forward side of the enemy line, while Charlie will be inserted behind the enemy’s forward line of troops to conduct surveillance operations.”
Alpha and Bravo Troops’ Humvees all have turret-mounted crew-served weapons including either an MK-19 grenade launcher or a .50-caliber belt-fed machine gun to help each vehicle provide security while on a reconnaissance mission. The Humvee with the MK-19 Grenade Launcher also includes a Long Range Advance Scout Surveillance System.
“We utilize all the technology available on our vehicles to observe an objective and report activity or lack of activity up to our combatant commander so he can make better informed decisions,” said Capt. Steven Russell, commander of Bravo Troop, 3-108th R&S.
Mounted cavalry troops train to conduct reconnaissance operations without being detected by their adversary. Bravo Troop used vegetation, terrain relief, and coordinated movement techniques to conceal their positions. Moving undetected into position and complete and concise reports are the building blocks of a cavalry troop.
“We trained on reconnaissance tasks specific to reconnaissance mounted troops this annual training,” said Russell. “That included individual and section level tasks, everything from mounted land navigation, reconnaissance fundamentals, named area of interest observation, troop leading procedures that culminated in a situational training exercise.”
“This was the best annual training I have been to in a long time,” said Russell. “I know I joined the Georgia Army National Guard to serve and play with the big guns, and that is all we did this weekend. We fired our individual weapon systems and conducted reconnaissance mounted troop exercises to further develop our individual skills.”