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    Black Lions focus on road to NTC

    Black Lions focus on road to NTC

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Aaron Knowles | Soldiers from TF 1-28, 3rd BCT, 3rd ID, assault a simulated object while participating...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Aaron Knowles 

    3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

    Vincent Lombardi, head coach of the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, once said, “When the going gets tough, you get tougher, and then you win.”

    Lombardi may have been talking about football, but he could easily have been talking about Soldiers.

    For Soldiers, when things get tough, they train, they push through, and they win.

    This is exactly the case for the Soldiers from Task Force 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, who participated in a two-week exercise called ‘Lion Focus,’ on Fort Benning, Georgia, from Feb. 8-19

    The training conducted during Lion Focus will lead into the unit’s next higher echelon training event, Hammer Focus, which is supported by the 3rd BCT, 3rd ID.

    According to Lt. Col. Fred Tanner, the commander of TF 1-28, and a native of New York, New York, the training for his unit has to be intense due to it being a unique entity.

    “We are the first standing task force, but we are not the first task force,” Tanner said.

    According to Tanner, in most cases, a deploying unit would gain certain fighting functions that were necessary for a specific mission by being augmented with personnel from other units, such as engineers or field artillery assets. The size of those augmenting elements would vary based on mission.

    “Most of the time, you don’t get those units till you show up at the National Training Center or, in my experience, it is while you are deployed and you show up in Afghanistan or Iraq,” Tanner said. “But, the after action review comments are always the same, wishing for more time to train up. We don’t have that excuse. TF 1-28 has these guys during the train-up, so I think what is really important is that we demonstrate the ability to train, certify and, ultimately, utilize those guys.”

    TF 1-28, also known as ‘Black Lions,’ is comprised of eight separate companies each with their individual specialties designed to make the TF small and able to self-sustain.

    “What makes us unique and what makes us a Task Force is the fact that we are not just infantry,” Tanner said. “Sure, every infantry battalion has personnel other than infantry, but we have company-sized formations that are not infantry. We have a field artillery battery, and we have an engineer company, so what’s important for us as a Task Force is the ability to integrate and to synchronize those elements on the battlefield.”

    Lion Focus was the first opportunity for the Black Lions to practice the integration of new elements.

    “Exercises like these force the Soldiers to see how they work together in the bigger picture,” said Capt. Jay Brend, the company commander of Battle Company, TF 1-28, 3rd BCT, 3rd ID, and a native of Milwaukee. “It also forces them to understand the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of their expected objectives. They aren’t just moving to destroy the enemy; there is an actual purpose behind it. This allows them to see how the entire task force works together.”

    Following Lion Focus, the TF will have time to recover from Lion Focus, and then they will enter the company-level phase of training, known as Hammer Focus, Tanner said.

    “Then we will have ‘Marne Focus,’ which will be our last exercise within the Division prior to going to NTC,” Tanner said.

    “You get better through repetition, and repetition takes time,” Tanner said. “Our certification process culminates at NTC, but we aren’t going to come back from NTC and think that we are done.”

    According to Tanner, the training for the unit is meant to be intense in order to prepare the Soldiers for the tough road ahead when it comes to training and operations. Regardless, he is positive that the Soldiers will continue to act as professionals.

    “Across the board, the Soldiers have been looking awesome,” Brend said. “They have been taking everything very serious and acting as complete professionals. Their individual Soldier discipline has been extremely high. The Soldiers out there are giving 100 percent and then some.”

    “At the individual Soldier level, I want a more resilient, hardened Soldier,” Tanner said. “A lot of this formation has not deployed, but we have some junior leadership that has. I want Soldiers comfortable with being a little bit miserable. We need to get comfortable with living in austere conditions. Not that I like to see Soldiers suffer, but if we go somewhere and it’s not that hard, then great.”



    Date Taken: 02.19.2016
    Date Posted: 02.22.2016 15:53
    Story ID: 189651
    Location: FORT BENNING, GA, US 
    Hometown: MILWAUKEE, WI, US
    Hometown: NEW YORK, NY, US

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