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    Task Force Raptor arrives at Pre Mob Center

    Texas National Guardsmen at the range in Indiana

    Photo By Malcolm McClendon | Soldiers from the 702 Military Police Company, Task Force Raptor (3-124 CAV), on the...... read more read more

    CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – Waiting their turn, National Guardsmen from Texas huddled around a space heater in the 17-degree Indiana weather. The warmth it provided was only temporary as they had to head down to the range soon.

    Soldiers from Task Force Raptor (3-124 CAV), conducted training at the Reflexive Fire Range at the Joint Maneuver Training Center at Camp Atterbury, Ind., in preparation for their deployment to the Horn of Africa early this year. The range trains Soldiers for close quarter combat.

    “It teaches soldiers how to engage the enemy at distances between zero and 25 meters and how to take the recoil from the weapon in a certain manner in order to engage the target quickly,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Demarsiso, senior observer control/trainer with the 157th Infantry Brigade at Camp Atterbury.

    The range was only one stop of a list of things the soldiers had to do in their first week at Atterbury.

    Earlier in the week, the Guardsmen moved from what seemed to be one endless line to another at Reception, Staging, Onward movement, and Integration, a process that ensures the Soldiers are cleared of medical, legal, and financial issues as well as have the gear needed for the mission. According to 2nd Lt. Matthew Venia, staff officer at the RSOI, the process is worth the wait.

    “This process is not only important for the soldier, but for the family back home. SGLI [Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance] is obviously a good thing to have up to date, but also their DEERS [Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System] and ID cards are checked for accuracy to ensure the family back home is getting the medical care that they are now entitled to.”

    Once the soldiers cleared RSOI, they hit the frozen Indiana ground running with an exercise in Base Defense. Soldiers trained on a mock military base conducting security patrols, entry control points, and quick reaction force scenarios. Capt. Travis Nelson from Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, out of Wylie, Texas, was the officer in charge of the Tactical Operations Center there.

    “We’re using vehicles and people approaching the ECPs, there are individuals dropping off suspicious objects outside the base, and even a scenario for the QRF to escort individuals from the embassy to a safe location.”

    At the base’s front gate, soldiers from the 712th Military Police Company, out of Houston, stood guard at their ECPs. Staff Sgt. Thomas Hayes, sergeant of the Guard, talks about the training.

    “The soldiers here at the gate make sure all persons coming in and out have IDs and if needed the passengers are asked to exit the vehicle and searched separately. This is basically the crawl phase of running an ECP, but it shows everyone what goes on and what we will be doing on the deployment.”

    Hayes believes the cold weather adds value to the training.

    “The way I look at it, one way or another there is going to be some heartache involved. Here it’s the cold, when we get to Africa it’s going to be the heat; so either way you’re gonna have some aggravation to learn to deal with,” said Hayes.

    Back at the Reflexive Fire Range, the soldiers tore themselves away from the warmth of the heater, clenched the cold steel of their weapons, aimed and fired.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.16.2012
    Date Posted: 01.17.2012 10:52
    Story ID: 82472
    Location: CAMP ATTERBURY, IN, US 

    Web Views: 318
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN