News: Iron Soldiers review; expand basic soldier knowledge
Story by Pfc. Jennifer Spradlin
Before the last of the morning fog dissipated in the fields, Soldiers from the Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Division, were actively learning the techniques and skills necessary for success in an upcoming deployment to Iraq.
Squad sized groups of Soldiers, a mixture of both enlisted and officer ranks, dressed in full tactical gear, trained in an array of "basic" Soldier tasks at the Grafenwoehr Training Area Sept 23.
The pre-deployment training is in conjunction with Operation Unified Endeavor, being held at the Joint Multinational Training Command, to prepare the Soldiers of the 1st AD for their role in Iraq.
Classes were given on land navigation, combat lifesaver course, respond to enemy fire and radio communications.
Training in the field allows for the immediate correction of errors and reduces time constraints, said Sgt. Curtis LeSame, platoon sergeant, B Company, STB, 1st AD. Failure was not an option. Soldiers were required to receive a pass from all instructors before moving onto the next station.
The responsibility of training Soldiers is a role Sgt. Paul Henley, fire support non-commissioned officer, A Company, STB, 1st AD, takes personally. He said in today's Army, with the high operational tempo the emphasis of the NCO corps to lead and train Soldiers is fundamental.
That standard, he said, was exceeded by the pre-deployment training at the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
"The training here features the finest instructors and the best equipment," said Henley. Henley taught proper movement/react to fire techniques. When picking squad leaders for the practical exercise portion, he chose the most junior enlisted Soldiers to lead. Mission success, he said, was dependant on all members of the team understanding the mission and the plan of execution.
It was an opportunity that some Soldiers had not experienced before.
"I think it was a good idea to put lower enlisted Soldiers in charge at some of the stations," said Pfc. Tamika Tutt, a paralegal specialist assigned to B Company, STB, 1st AD. "For me, it highlighted what senior leaders feel when they are out there with Soldiers' lives on their hands."
This will be the first deployment for Tutt, a Houston native, who described the training as "well-rounded."