Fort Campbell, KY – Soldiers and Green Berets erupted from dense forest under the cover of night and fought shoulder-to-shoulder through controlled chaos, exhaustion and enemy forces in the training area on post Friday, August 16th, 2019.
Soldiers of C Troop, 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, had the rare chance to hone their combat skills alongside 11 team members from 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), during a two-week training exercise dubbed Apache Scorpion.
“Our goal was to do a week of SOP (standard operating procedure) development, do small unit tactics and then take them through a planning process into operation,” said a Green Beret with 5th SFG(A). “We sought out a partner force and found it in 1-75 (CAV).”
For the Green Berets, it was an opportunity to enhance the capabilities of a much larger partner force while learning how to resource and provide necessities like hot food, fuel, latrines and ammunition.
Brand new recruits and seasoned soldiers received guidance on mission planning, battle drills, reconnaissance, handling prisoners of war, first aid and evacuation.
“Adding them (Green Berets) brings a whole new value to the team and brings a lot of experience that we need, especially for the new guys,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle Norton, a platoon sergeant with C Troop. “It brings that element that maybe we don’t think about that they’ve actually been a part of.”
The repetitious training saw soldiers working day and night directly with Green Berets through realistic scenarios in an austere environment that eventually led to a final assault on an enemy encampment.
“It’s not easy doing all this every day and all day. Doing the same thing over and over and over again. But overall it helped us today to be able to accomplish the mission,” Spc. Jamie McFerren, a machine gunner with C Troop.
As the sun rose after their successful raid, soldiers treated and loaded simulated casualties onto litters and followed a seemingly endless dirt road to an evacuation site. Reconnaissance squads, who were living out of their ruck sacks in the woods for several days, followed close behind.
Simulated casualties were then loaded into medical Humvees; completing the culminating event of exercise Apache Scorpion.
Soldiers shed their gear, collapsed onto the soft grass and began swapping personal highlights with squad mates about their unique training with Green Berets.
“They all want to go to selection now, they’ve been talking about it since last week into this week and they all want to do bigger and better things for the Army and the world,” said Norton.