News: New year starts with a bang
Story by Cpl. Barbara J. Liau
FLORENCE, Ariz. - Starting off the new year with a bang, more than 300 Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry Regiment, “Bushmasters,” participated in wartime operation exercises at Florence Military Reservation, Jan. 7.
The purpose of this training was to conduct combined armed operations, said Lt. Col. Christopher Lambesis, commander of the 1/158th Bushmasters. These armed operations are decentralized at the company level and work together to achieve one of the battalion’s core Mission Essential Task List objectives of conducting offensive operations in a war zone.
Working in coordination with aviation units, the scout platoon from the Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1/158th conducted an air assault raid on a Military Operations in Urban Terrain site.
This training allowed the scouts to complete key mission objectives, such as familiarization with air assault operations and conducting soldier-level warrior tasks within the scout platoon.
“They get familiar with how to load and unload from aircraft, and how to plan for and conduct air assault operations,” Lambesis said.
Another integral section of the 1/158th needed for offensive operations is the mortar section, which provides support by fire.
Sgt. Jeff Atwater, a mortarman with the HHC Company, 1/158th, said the mortars were conducting live fire exercises to stay prepared for any upcoming deployments.
For this particular training, the HHC, 1/158th used 120mm mortars, and practiced firing at targets up to 5,000 yards away.
“It’s a good training event to make sure we are up on everything,” Atwater said.
By successfully performing their individual jobs, the soldiers of the 1/158th support the battalion’s mission.
“The training we’re conducting today is part of our core METL task of conducting offensive operations. And, we as, the state of Arizona’s center of gravity for its combat power, need to be able to deploy and fight on the battlefield as a light infantry battalion,” Lambesis said.