Written by Sgt. Kimberly K. Menzies
4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – Soldiers with 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conducted walk-and-shoot training exercises September 28th to October 4th, 2012 as part of the Eagle Flight III field exercise at Fort Campbell, KY.
“The purpose of the walk-and-shoots is to train company, battery and troop level leadership on how to better integrate indirect fire support assets whether it be mortars, artillery, [close combat aircraft] and close air support with direct fire systems in a maneuver setting such as movement to contact or an attack,” said Maj. John Montgomery, the battalion operations officer with 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Bde., 101st Abn. Div.For many leaders this was an opportunity for the Soldiers to put into practice their training up to this point.
“This is a natural continuation of some of the individual and collective tasks that we have already been training on,” said Cpt. Ben Scott, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Bde. , 101st Abn. Div.
“We just came out of machine gun leaders course and air ground integration training and now we are able to bring all that together, the collective and indirect leader tasks, and execute it in a realistic environment with live rounds.”
Leaders had also been utilizing exercise rehearsals and Virtual Battlespace II, a first-person shooter gaming simulation program designed to test and refine standard operating procedures, to prepare for Eagle Flight III.
With this type of training exercise, each Soldier had an important part to play in accomplishing the mission.
“This was about the integration of working with the [forward observers] and having actual assets, seeing how it all ties together,” describes 1st Lt. Dawson Quenneville, a platoon leader for 1st Platoon, Company A, 1st Bn., 506th Inf. Regt., 4th Bde., 101st Abn. Div. “I haven’t had that experience before; it is a very helpful experience.”
“We had a gun team set up crew drills from berm to berm,” said Pfc. Jeff Rouse, a gun team leader and assistant gunner with 3rd Platoon, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 506th Inf. Regt., 4th Bde., 101st Abn. Div. “We set up local security for the other platoons as they moved, bounded and engaged the enemies out in the open.”
All the Soldiers participating understood the importance of using this type of training exercise to always be ready for future rendezvous with destiny.
“This training is very important because you have to know your gun system,” said Rouse. “You have to know how to operate it. You have to get comfortable setting it up, taking it down and loading it. You can read all you want but until you get hands-on-training you won’t know your job.”
“It is practice for our jobs,” said Salvatore. “So basically it will become muscle memory for us and we will be more comfortable running our systems.”
“This also helps us better learn how to communicate with each other. That is going to help us with any deployments in the future. We have to be able to communicate, work together as a team and accomplish the mission.”
For more on the story, see: Fort Campbell’s 4th Brigade Combat Team “Currahees” prepare for Eagle Flight III
Video by Sgt. Bradley Parrish
4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division