News: Fort Hood’s 3rd Cav. Regt. trains for GITMO mission with DIVWEST
By Capt. John A. Brimley
5th Armored Brigade, Division West Public Affairs
McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. – To gain practical experience for its mission deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Fort Hood, Texas' Crazy Horse (Charlie) Troop, 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, trained in detention operations here with Division West's 3rd Battalion, 362nd Armored Regiment, Task Force Stallion, 5th Armored Brigade.
Crazy Horse Troop faced an uphill climb in its preparation for the detention operations mission considering the unit primarily consists of combat arms Soldiers.
“We’re a Stryker infantry troop,” said Capt. Andrew Oliver, of Billings, Montana, troop commander for Crazy Horse Troop, 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. “We came down to develop skills essential to being successful in the GITMO mission and this allows us to test and evaluate skills in a simulated environment.”
Oliver, who assumed command of the Crazy Horse Troop just days before arriving here, was involved in some of the planning. However, understanding the difficult transition his troops would make and the importance of their training was evident during their time on ground.
“Task Force Stallion and the 3rd Cav. started several months ago tailoring our training to fit this mission,” said Oliver. “It’s quintessential certifying training that’s imperative for Soldier to be exposed to before going down to Guantanamo Bay.”
Crazy Horse comprised a mixture of Soldiers ranging in varying levels of experience and some with little to none.
Pvt. James Buchner, of Lexington, Kentucky, a rifleman with Crazy Horse Troop, 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, is barely out of basic training, and said the cross training to a completely different skill set was not that big of a deal.
“Having that knowledge is important, but I’m able to learn a lot quicker,” said Buchner. “I haven’t been doing my job that long and this is helping me to learn more, even though it’s not my job.”
Even for more experienced Soldiers in Crazy Horse, the transition wasn’t as big of a chore as expected.
“It’s definitely a brand new mission,” said Sgt. Anthony Clemente, of Woodbury, Connecticut, fire support non-commissioned officer for 4th Platoon, Crazy Horse Troop, 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. “It wasn’t that big of an adjustment because we started to prepare five months ago.”
For TF Stallion, the mission was a bit different and the approach slightly changed, but the quality of training and level of professionalism never wavered.
“It was a different mindset for the OCTs [observer/coach-trainer] because they have to keep in mind that they [Crazy Horse Troop] haven’t gone through that skillset,” said Capt. Benjamin Booth, of Dallas, team chief for detention operations at Task Force Stallion. “We kept it as simple as possible.”
However, the success of the training took willing participants on both sides; Crazy Horse Troop and TF Stallion.
“The coordination between both elements was extremely professional,” said Oliver, “and it was further confirmed by the cadre leading the training here.”