Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Troopers storm Franklin Mountains State Park

    Troopers storm Franklin Mountains State Park

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Aidana Baez | Pvt. 1st Class John D. Rice, a resident of Perry, Fla, and Pvt. 1st Class Benjamin G....... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Aidana Baez 

    53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    By Cpt. Justin Howland and Staff Sgt. Aidana Baez, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment

    MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. - Troopers assigned to Troop A, 1st Squadron, 153rd Cavalry Regiment from Bonifay, Fla. completed an eight mile “Cavalicious Freedom Hike” in Franklin Mountains State Park near El Paso, Texas on April 23, 2016. The troop is attached to Task Force Hurricane and are conducting post mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas in preparation for their deployment to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    Troopers tested their mental and physical strengths as they summited the tallest peak North Franklin Mountain at an elevation of 7,192 feet above sea-level.

    “This is to prepare them to the harsh semi-arid environment of Djibouti,” said Cpt. Justin Howland, commander, Troop A, 1st Squadron, 153rd Cavalry Regiment. “As well as to enforce leadership skills at all levels.”

    Djibouti has an average high temperature of 90 °F, which is 20 degrees higher than the average high temperature for Florida.

    “As scouts we would do a route recon before we execute a mission,” said Staff Sgt. Tracy Chambliss, from Chipley Fla. “So basically, this is a route recon, but really we had fun.”

    The event provided realistic training benefits and reinforced the bond that makes the troop such closed knit unit.

    “The Troop is as strong as their weakness link,” said Sgt. 1st Class John Oliver. “The troopers supported their fellow Soldiers allowing the entire troop to make it to the top of the mountain.”

    “We work hard, we play hard and we enjoy what we do,” said Chambliss. “We are one great big family, which is why I have been there for 16 years.”

    Turning Soldiers to troopers by unifying them is something this troop knows a lot about. As a part of the Army’s Soldier 2020 initiative, females are now assigned to the troop and will deploy with them to Djibouti.

    “We had experience with females in our ranks in Kuwait,” said Chambliss. “We treat them just like we treat any other Soldier.

    In 2010, Troop A, and the rest of the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. During that deployment, females were attached to the infantry and cavalry units.

    “It is definitely a different kind of twang to their personality; I love it,” Pvt. Michelle Duke, a combat medic from Houston, Texas. “By the end of my first week the guys were calling me Doc and coming up to me with a million questions.”
    Troop A, which is based out of Bonifay, Fla, is attached to 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, which is headquartered in Miramar Fla. The units organic to 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment have a tropical or Caribbean twist to their personality, while Troop A, has a more down home southern feel.

    “When I first found out I was deploying I thought I would be fluent in Spanish by the time I got back,” said Duke. “But, then I was attached to the cavalry and it is so southern; it’s awesome.”

    “This is a really good way to get to know different kinds of people,” said Chambliss. “They have accepted us really well. They like us and we like them.”



    Date Taken: 04.23.2016
    Date Posted: 04.30.2016 21:56
    Story ID: 196985
    Location: EL PASO, TX, US
    Hometown: BONIFAY, FL, US
    Hometown: MIRAMAR, FL, US
    Hometown: PANAMA CITY, FL, US
    Hometown: PERRY, FL, US
    Hometown: PINELLAS PARK, FL, US
    Hometown: ST. AUGUSTINE, FL, US

    Web Views: 465
    Downloads: 3