Soldier Combat Skills

Training

Combat Skills Competition

Sixty U.S. troops deployed to Iraq were up before sunrise Nov. 7 to compete in Demon Fury, a unit competition testing the full spectrum of their combat skills.

The competition was hosted by the Enhanced Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, an aviation unit from Fort Riley, Kan. Members of the brigade from around Iraq travelled to Camp Taji for the competition.

Demon Fury, named after the brigade’s nickname, the “Demon Brigade,” began in the early morning hours with a six-mile road march. The march was followed by several events, including a weapons range, an obstacle course and an event in which participants provided medical care to simulated casualties. Demon Brigade troops also appeared before a board and faced a mystery challenge testing their land navigation skills.

“Today’s competition was put together to select the [noncommissioned officer] and the Soldier of the year for 2010 for the Enhanced Combat Aviation Brigade,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Thomson, the senior NCO for the brigade. (continue reading…)

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Soldiers learn essential combat skills

Air Assault School is widely known as a tough course and, by design, it weeds out those who don’t meet the requirements. The road marches, obstacle courses, sling-load operations and rappelling are physically and emotionally demanding; however, probably the most important task the Soldiers must master during the two-week course is attention to detail.

On “zero day,” 148 Soldiers recently reported to the Light Fighters School where the Air Assault School is taught.

During the course, students are required to lay out their gear. Those who didn’t pack properly are immediately cut from the course, while the rest proceed to an obstacle course. (continue reading…)

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Army transforms recruit training

Like the times, the Army is changing and it’s starting from the ground up with Basic Combat Training. The transformation went into effect July 1, as the standard for training future Soldiers.

First, United States Training and Doctrine Command public affairs wanted to dispel any rumors the training has become “softer.” In a press release they stated with an extra week of training, the warrior tasks and battle drills have been refined and are now geared toward training fewer and more relevant tasks, well.

“It’s not soft. It’s just different and the physical training has become a lot more regimented and more battle-focused. It’s focused on training more people to achieve that initial basic training standard while mitigating injuries,” explained Capt. Kyle Lippold, commander of G Battery, 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery.

On Aug. 4, his Soldiers trained at the 25-meter rifle range in their third week of BCT. As they went through basic rifle marksmanship, the most noticeable difference was the lack of kevlars and other familiar gear. The trainees were firing “slick” or in ACUs. (continue reading…)

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The Army’s foundational building blocks of Soldier skills

The line comes right after the Warrior Ethos in the Soldier’s Creed: “I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.”

In the very first days of basic training, Soldiers begin reciting these words, among the core tenets of what it means to be an American Soldier. Yet, despite being regarded as fundamental knowledge, most Soldiers couldn’t explain what those “warrior tasks and drills” were – even at a conference organized last year specifically to discuss them, said Col. Craig Currey, former director of the Training Support and Schools Directorate at the Basic Training Center of Excellence, Fort Jackson, S.C.

“We asked Soldiers if they could define and tell what the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills were. Everybody looked around the room; nobody could even come close,” he said. (continue reading…)

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Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Basic Training

Many Soldiers will say their most vivid memory of Basic Combat Training was the moment they pulled off their protective mask and felt the sting of reality in the gas chamber.

Soldiers from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment recently got their turn in Fort Jackson’s Nuclear, Biological, Chemical chamber. On a rainy day in their third week of BCT, they completed the NBC training.

“The purpose of NBC is for them to get familiar with their equipment, and to know that if there is ever a severe situation, that they’ll be able to use their equipment properly,” said Capt. Jason Murray, commander of Co. A, 2nd Bn., 60th Inf. Reg. “They learn how to seal and clear the mask properly.”

A day at the NBC chamber begins with classroom instruction. Range cadre teach the trainees about the equipment they will be using. They break for lunch, then line up for the chamber. (continue reading…)

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Army recruits fire first weapons as Soldiers

Bullets were flying when basic trainees learned how to fire the Mark-19 grenade launcher and the M-2 .50-caliber machine gun Friday at Patton Range.

The goal of the training was to familiarize Soldiers with the weapons and to teach them the fundamentals of operating them, said SGT Randy Woolford, primary instructor for the M-2.

“As Infantry Soldiers, this is their bread and butter,” Woolford said. “All of them will be behind (the M-2) at some point, and some of them will definitely have to defend their lives with this weapon. It’s one of their key tools.”

The Soldiers, in A Company, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Regiment, were in their first week of one station unit training. Friday’s training was the first time they had fired weapons as Soldiers.

“The idea is to shock them, so when you hand them (another weapon), they’re not afraid,” Woolford said. “This is the loudest weapon they’re going to fire, the most rounds they’re going to fire and the quickest they’re going to fire, so by the time they walk away, there’s no other weapon they’ll fire in basic training that’s going to intimidate them. It’s going to build confidence.” (continue reading…)

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