News: 4-31 IN, all clear
Story by Sgt. Mark A Moore II
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - More than 80 soldiers assigned to 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, "Polar Bears," 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, participated in live fire room clearance exercise, Dec. 9-13 in Fort Drum's training areas.
Before the soldiers conducted the live-fire exercise, they trained on individual weapon skill and practiced different scenarios they may encounter while clearing a room during day and nighttime conditions. First, the soldiers walked through the rooms to make sure everyone understood their responsibilities and those of their teammates. Then they progressed to clearing the rooms while firing blank rounds and lastly they went through course qualification course while using live ammunition.
Live fire qualifications are conducted in a bullet resistant structure because it provides leaders and Soldiers a safe and realistic training environment.
"Soldiers are able to safely shoot live rounds inside of a building with a 360 degree field of fire, this helps to simulate a real world environment," said Sgt. 1st. Class Alex Anderson, a squad leader. The Dotson, Mont., native explained that the trainers, “are able to place targets anywhere we like, just as the enemy may be hiding anywhere within a room," which allows them the flexibility to tailor iterations and keep Soldiers on their toes.
For those soldiers entering and clearing rooms trust and confidence in their team member's abilities is non-negotiable. One ill placed shot could turn training into a medical emergency.
"You just have to trust your team members; you go in to the rooms and practice with dry fire exercises then move on to blanks," said Pvt. Rico Covington, an infantryman from Murfreesboro, Tenn. "After that you just have to suit up, go in there and do it."
When soldiers were not involved with practicing room clearing operations, they practiced, “buddy aid,” which is basic lifesaving skills that non-medical soldiers learn to help save injured soldiers on the battlefield.
"First responders trained in basic lifesaving techniques can really make the difference in casualty treatment," said Spc. Patrick McCormack, a senior medic from Red Oak, Iowa. "We don't always have a medic present at the time of injury so it's important that every soldier has a basic knowledge of life saving treatment."
Educating soldiers on basic medical knowledge and training them on how to provide buddy aid to an injured friend contributes to saving lives.