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    Panther Brigade Gears Up at Joint-Readiness Training Center

    Panther Brigade Gears Up at Joint-Readiness Training Center

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bennett | Paratroopers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division wait to...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bennett 

    82nd Airborne Division

    Fort Polk, La. - There’s a chill in the air on Fort Polk today. It’s not cold enough to long for warmer spring days, but just cool enough to remind the Paratroopers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division of the mild winters back home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

    A group of artillerymen from 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. are taking a break from today’s task, equipping their unit’s vehicles with the necessary Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) equipment for the upcoming rotation. After just over a week at Fort Polk, they have been working hard, but that is not dulling their enthusiasm.

    “I’m excited to get out there and face some different challenges in the field that we maybe don’t get to see at Fort Bragg,” says Spc. Grace Hale, a cannon crewmember assigned to charlie battery.

    Hale is among the few women to integrate into the artillery ranks, and clearly enjoys the team she’s a part of. She's quick to tell you that she enjoys these opportunities to make memories with her friends and teammates.

    Spc. Corey Purdy joins the group for a short break from MILES gear installation. Purdy is a veteran of Afghanistan, but this is his first time engaging in the ongoing notional battle with the Torrike Army, and he is dialed in.

    “I can't wait to see what we can do to the Opposing Force. I want to see how effective we can be as an artillery asset, and find out what our overall ability as a unit is.”

    Purdy pauses for a moment. He seems to be reflecting about the road his team traveled to get here.

    “I know this year has been really hard for everybody, especially with COVID going on, but our Paratroopers have worked really hard for the past ten months. JRTC is that opportunity to see all the hard work pay off, and it wasn’t for nothing. We can go in here, destroy the enemy, and be effective as a unit.”

    There’s also a sense of wonder about the big picture among this group.

    Pfc. Justin Munoz, a cannon crewmember assigned to alpha battery says, “I think I’m most excited to see us working as a full unit. Seeing everybody else do their jobs, and getting to see how it corresponds with our job.”

    The thing that stands out about these Paratroopers is their mindset about this training opportunity. They view their time at JRTC as a sports training camp, an opportunity to prepare for a championship season, and one last run before the team splits up.

    “This is about more training, doing the training we can’t do back at Bragg, and seeing how we respond when attacked. Some of us will be out soon, so this is our last field problem together,” says Spc. Hailey Pitt, a cannon crewmember also assigned to charlie battery.

    It’s this sense of camaraderie and commitment to mission success for these Paratroopers that leaves a feeling of confidence in their abilities. Like the Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Panther Brigade is firing on all cylinders and success seems inevitable.



    Date Taken: 01.31.2021
    Date Posted: 01.31.2021 16:50
    Story ID: 388017
    Location: FORT POLK, LA, US 

    Web Views: 195
    Downloads: 3