News: 'Raider' Bayonet training lanes reinforce Soldier skills in combat zone
By Sgt. David Hodge
1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq — In addition to accomplishing its combat mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, has made time to conduct a mandatory lanes-training exercise for Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers to sharpen their marksmanship skills while reinforcing basic Soldiering skills essential to today's battlefield.
"The Raider Bayonet" is a command-directed training event that provides Raider Brigade Soldiers the opportunity to reconfirm their battlefield zero and qualify on their individual weapons at Forward Operating Base Falcon in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.
"The training is centered on Soldiers that go in and out of the gate on a daily basis," said 1st Sgt. Reuben Tull Jr., Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div. "As we have heard about complacency, the training is to keep them on edge and to think about what they're doing on and off the mission."
Soldiers arrive early in the morning to begin Humvee Egress Assistance Training, marksmanship training and enhance their situational awareness with the Engagement Skills Trainer, stated Tull.
"They are given a safety brief with [pre-combat checks and inspections]; then the leaders go through and make sure the Soldiers are ready for training as well as in the proper uniform," said Tull, a native of Fayetteville, N.C.
HEAT training provides a realistic scenario of a vehicle rollover by turning a simulated truck upside down while Soldiers inside the simulator navigate their way out.
Staff Sgt. Bill Springs, a HEAT instructor and safety officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st BCT, said the training is good and he thinks the Soldiers are learning a lot from the opportunity to return to base and focus on the new training.
"It's a reality check once the Soldiers get into the vehicle," said Springs, a Los Angeles native. "Most of them have never experienced a rollover, so they find out the seatbelts really do save lives."
Soldiers attack the range to zero and qualify with their weapons, which can be many different models used by Soldiers in Iraq, such as the M-9 pistol, M-4 rifle and M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, explained Springs.
Raider Bayonet is for the Soldiers, said Staff Sgt. Andrew Tillery, a range safety officer and information technology specialist assigned to Company B, 1st STB.
The Soldiers are the ones pounding their feet on the pavement every day, he added.
"The Soldiers come in, zero and qualify to make sure their weapons are right before they go back out in sector," stated Tillery, a 7-year Army veteran who hails from Washington, D.C.
Tillery said being a range safety officer for the Raider Bayonet training event gives him a feeling of accomplishment.
"It feels good to be picked for a position like this," Tillery explained. "It shows me being here is for a reason."
The last exercise on the range is reflexive fire, where Soldiers react to a threat and quickly raise their weapon to fire downrange.
"The course has been good so far," said Pfc. Blake Herron, an indirect fire infantryman, assigned to Troop C, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st BCT. "We are learning useful skills we need to know. Since we roll out all the time, we need to make sure our weapons are zeroed."
Herron said he believes it is imperative to keep the skills taught in Raider Bayonet fresh in the Soldiers' minds.
"It was good to get a refresher on the HEAT trainer, and I am sure reflexive fire with our weapons will be the best," stated Herron, who hails from Adger, Ala.
The final training event of Raider Bayonet is the Engagement Skills Trainer, which is similar to a video game. The Soldiers are faced with different scenarios on a large screen and learn to identify threats in those scenarios, explained Tillery.
The EST hones the Soldiers skills and reinforces their proficiency by increasing awareness, said Tillery, adding that he believes the Soldiers looked sharp and are operating proficiently.
"The non-commissioned officers are showing them how to do it the right way, and it shows out here, Tillery said.
All Soldiers of the Raider Brigade and its attached units are required to attend the training at some point throughout the two months, said Springs.
Date Posted:10.08.2008 04:56
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