News: RTA soldiers conduct mounted, dismounted drills
Story by Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson
FORT THANARAT, Thailand – There are times when everything goes right for soldiers and then there are many more times when nothing goes right. In this instance, the weather tried to dampen the moods of soldiers from the U.S. Army Pacific Command and the Royal Thai Army when it began to downpour on the soldiers during their mounted and dismounted small squad tactics situational training exercise, June 19.
While living up to one of many U.S. Army motivational phrases, "It's not training unless it's raining," the RTA soldiers gathered in a wedge formation and pressed forward.
"Hanuman Guardian helps to build camaraderie between units that face the same obstacles one a daily basis," said Staff Sgt. Scott Gay, an Oconomowoc, Wis., native, a squad leader for Company A, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. "Bad weather, hard training, and sweating a lot together; that always brings people closer together."
As quietly as can be, the Royal Thai Army crept through the woods looking for the opposition force. As they moved deeper into the heavily wooded area, the RTA soldiers relied upon hand and arm signals, spacing, and minimizing unnecessary noise until they reached their objective.
"It's extremely important for the Royal Thai Army soldiers to be prepared during a hasty attack or ambush," said a sergeant first class with the Pacific Special Operations Command. "They also need to know how to identify IEDs (improvised explosive devices) effectively. The opportunity to seize the moment really relies on the ability to know which direction the enemy may or may not have gone."
After advancing several hundred meters, the RTA found their objective. They bounded across an open field, covering each other as they moved. They quickly took out a three-man enemy force and moved to the next location. As they moved their element across a road, they were ambushed by another enemy element. They fell back into a defensive posture and worked out a strategy to suppress the enemy.
"It's interesting to work with another country and see how they use tactics that are similar to ours, how we can learn from one another, enhance their soldier-skills, and prepare them for fights they may have in the future," said Gay.
Also during the training, the RTA soldiers learned how to establish an observation post without being seen and call for fire during the mounted portion of the training. The training was new to them, but they worked together and listened to the instructions given to them by their leaders and the USARPAC soldiers.
"In the beginning, it was hard to get the Thai soldiers to open up to us. But once we started doing the hands-on exercises, getting down on the ground, showing them how to lay and how we do things; in addition to telling them about our real-world experiences, they seem to open up more and be more receptive to the instructions," said Gay.
Whether rain or shine, dismounted on foot or mounted in a vehicle, the RTA soldiers continue to move forward and developing their squad tactics along the way.