News: ‘Jackpot!’: Cobra 2-5 soldiers capture HVT during difficult training mission
Story by Spc. Christopher Smythers
ORO GRANDE BASE CAMP, N.M. – Standing in rain uncommon among the desert heat and dry climate of the training areas around Fort Bliss, a company of light infantry soldiers waited for the CH-47 Chinook scheduled to transport them to their objective.
When word arrived that weather had made flight impossible, however, they were able to adapt quickly.
The soldiers of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team participated in a training mission July 18 as part of Iron Focus, a training exercise designed to prepare the brigade for its eventual deployment to Afghanistan.
Cobra’s mission was to seize Tarin Kalpak, a simulated Afghan village located in the mountains of New Mexico near Oro Grande. The soldiers were then to capture a high-value target known to be hiding there.
Cobra’s leadership had developed a plan involving an air assault infiltration, in which helicopters would transport the infantrymen close to the village. The soldiers, then, would advance into and secure it.
Plans changed, however, when inclement weather grounded the anticipated aircraft, but the leadership was quick to implement a contingency.
The soldiers morale took a hit as they learned a four-hour drive replaced their 30-minute flight, but infantrymen are nothing if not stoic. They boarded the waiting trucks and set out through the rain.
The leadership had to adjust the infiltration plan, and they had only the travel time to their objective to make changes.
Upon reaching their destination, the battle-ready Soldiers hit the ground and immediately began to advance according to their recently made plan.
After hours of waiting, the objective was finally in sight, but the scout platoon encountered enemy fighters long before they were expected.
Rushing to action, the Soldiers reacted to enemy fire. They engaged the enemy combatants and continued to move with the ease of professionals completing a daily task.
Upon reaching the village, the task became more difficult. The buildings were farther away than expected and the enemy offered heavy resistance.
An intense firefight began.
The next minutes may have seemed chaotic to the untrained eye, but the Cobra Soldiers moved in a rehearsed manner to clear and secure the village.
Moving from building to building, the infantrymen searched for the target as they engaged attacking insurgents and protected peaceful civilians.
Finally, “Jackpot!” echoed throughout the village. Jackpot was the code word designated to announce the successful capture of the target.
The soldiers had their target, but no one relaxed. There were casualties to care for, searches to conduct and villagers to protect. Additionally, as in war, the infantrymen could never be certain that the enemy was contained and the area was safe.
Cobra planned, rehearsed and executed the mission in less than 36 hours.
The mission was successful, and it provided a valuable learning experience for all the soldiers of the Bobcat battalion.
“We would have smoked ourselves on that long assault for nothing if we didn’t learn any lessons from it,” said Lt. Col. Edward A. Brady, the Bobcats’ commander. “We’re going to be out here over the next two weeks, and it’s a great opportunity for us to improve. Every time this company finishes an operation it gets better, and better and better.”
“In some ways, my company exceeded my expectations,” said Capt. Nathan D. Rogowski, Cobra commander. “They always do.”
“At the end of the day I’m confident that these guys know what they’re doing,” he said. “A lot of them are professionals, and they’re teaching the new guys to be professionals as well. They always do everything they’re told and more.”
This work, ‘Jackpot!’: Cobra 2-5 soldiers capture HVT during difficult training mission, by SPC Christopher Smythers, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.