News: 1-4 Infantry has blast during live-fire exercise
Story by Staff Sgt. Caleb Barrieau
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- At Range 201, deep in the Bavarian countryside, soldiers of Cherokee Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, conducted a rare live-fire exercise as platoon-sized elements. Their objective was an enemy defensive position about a mile away named Bulldogs.
Staff Sgt. Cody Frederick, a rifle squad leader in 2nd Platoon, knew how important a live-fire training exercise of this magnitude meant to his troops. "I guarantee you this is the first time these guys have ever done anything as complex as this range."
Frederick added that this kind of training doesn't happen very often, "This will probably be the last main event these guys do for a couple of years unless they come back to this same lane again."
Soldiers from 1-4 Infantry act as an enemy presence for U.S. and multinational Soldiers training at the U.S. Army's Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas. Although the 1-4 Infantry plays the opposing forces role most of the time, they maintain their status as a deployable unit, by remaining vigilant with realistic training such as the live-fire exercise they conducted in Grafenwoehr.
As Frederick's squad headed out on foot with rucksacks on their backs and weapons at the ready, they would encounter and have to destroy enemy observation positions with all available means. Cpl. Cody Couffer, Alpha team leader in 2nd Platoon, had to react to enemy contact by engaging targets at unknown distances.
"It's pretty fun using live ammo," Couffer said. "It's good to know they trust me to accomplish the mission."
"Maneuvering, as a member of a team, while using live ammunition re-emphasized the need for team cohesion; it's more like a brotherhood, so you have to trust your team with everything," Couffer explained while scanning his sector of fire for enemies.
Out of breath and soaked from the mud and rain, Staff Sgt. Frederick proclaimed that, "This was probably the most realistic training I've ever done!"
The Infantry Platoon employed the use of mortars, grenades, claymore mines, and even AT-4 shoulder-mounted missile launchers.
"I thought we did very well for doing a company sized training lane with less than half a platoon of soldiers," Frederick said.
It was a testament to the degree of knowledge and teamwork that Cherokee Company's 2nd Platoon soldiers were able to act and react exactly as they were taught in previous training exercises. Frederick explained what his troops gained from the experience, they got the realism that the battlefield is constantly evolving and adapting.
"I got the satisfaction from knowing that my guys are able to move and think on their feet, and be lethal as infantry soldiers," he said.