News: Platoon leaders gain live-fire experience
Story by Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor
FORT STEWART, Ga. – “Cottonbaler” platoon leaders from 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, participated in leader professional development during a squad live-fire exercise, Jan. 24, on Fort Stewart, Ga.
Platoon leaders in the rank of first and second lieutenant from Company A, B, C, D and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Bn. 7th Inf. Regt., observed an infantry squad assault targets and support by fire from a distance closer than they are used to.
Second Lt. Nathan A. Schoffer, a Spanaway, Wash., native, and a platoon leader with Company A, 3rd Bn., 7th Inf. Regt., said one of the main objectives was to let the platoon leaders experience being fifteen degrees away from their gun fire.
“Fifteen degrees represents the red zone, the furthermost limit before ricochet or fratricide comes into play,” clarified Staff Sgt. Louis G. Dickey, from Merced, Calif., and a squad leader with Company A, 3rd Bn., 7th Inf. Regt.
Capt. Jonathan B. Rembetsy, the commander for Company A, 3rd Bn., 7th Inf. Regt., led the platoon leaders during four iterations of the exercise, while conducting a quick analysis at every objective, in order to familiarize the platoon leaders with possible scenarios they can encounter when maneuvering their platoons while deployed.
The training is not done often, and doing any training as a battalion or higher echelon is difficult, but Rembetsy, from Fairfield, Conn., hailed his soldiers from Company A, who made the training possible for the battalion platoon leaders.
“It’s really hard to bring people together because every company has their own cycle,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey R. Dillingham, the command sergeant major for 3rd Bn., 7th Inf. Regt., who attended the training.
“We are showing you this from this angle so you get a perspective of what these guys are doing,” said Lt. Col. Gregory R. Bell, the commander for 3rd Bn., 7th Inf. Regt., to his platoon leaders.
The Valdosta, Ga., native, added the training would build muscle memory so the platoon leaders are prepared during combat and help them bring different elements into the fight.
Sgt. Moses T. Jose, a Los Angeles native, and a squad leader from Company D, 3rd Bn., 7th Inf. Regt., said the training increases confidence and familiarizes everyone on how to react when bullets fly close.
“As a platoon leader, our sole responsibility is to maneuver our squads,” said 2nd Lt. Richard B. Williamson, a platoon leader with Company C, 3rd Bn. 7th Inf. Regt. The Washington, D.C., native said the training gave the platoon leaders a better scope to view what squad leaders see which will help them make better decisions.