FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Only a week after arriving in Alaska, Pvt. Dalton Aleman was wading through four feet of snow on Fort Wainwright with his new platoon in company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
The battalions of the 1-25th have spent months perfecting squad- and crew-level operations. Now that the squads are trained, the whole platoon is coming together for larger training events.
“We were finishing up squad-level training last week,” Sgt. 1st Class Scott McKissen, third platoon sergeant said, “and then we went right into platoon-level training this week. And, although there’s always room for improvement, we really couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. We got most of it right the first time.”
The training consisted of a platoon movement through the forest, ending in a coordinated assault on an objective, and also an urban-assault lane, with platoons operating in a simulated city environment by night and by daylight.
“All the squad-level training we’ve done has made it a really easy transition to platoon-level operations,” Staff Sgt. Tyler Nelson, third platoon’s heavy weapons squad leader, said.
“This has gone really well,” Company A 1st Sgt. Roberto Alomar said. “It’s been a lot of long days and long cold nights, but no one is complaining and everyone has been giving 100 percent.”
“We’re breaking trail for the rest of the battalion.”
At the platoon level there are more components to track and more moving parts to be coordinated for the operation to be successful.
Calling for artillery and air support assets are worked into training, as these elements play a large role in combat.
“Everyone is really eager to learn,” Company A Commander Capt. Carl Kruger said. “They’re ready to put into practice the tactics and techniques they’ve been working on at the squad and team level. And they’ve been taking the feedback and learning from it, making steady improvements along the way.”
With many of the brigade’s soldiers soon leaving Alaska for other assignments, the new soldiers arriving to fill the ranks are taking full advantage of the brief time they have with their veteran counterparts.
“One of the most important things we‘re doing is getting the new guys with the old guys before they leave,” said McKissen.
“My team leaders know their stuff,” Alaska newcomer Aleman said, “and are doing a great job of teaching me the things I need to know. I feel confident that we’ll be ready for anything.”