By Spc. Bailey Jester
1st Cavalry Division public affairs
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - When Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, it was the first war where front-line troops were equipped largely by Army Prepositioned Stock (APS).
APS' mission is to reduce the initial amount of equipment transportation required to support a continental U.S.-based unit, and to sustain soldiers until traditional lines of communication are established.
Around the globe, there are five regional storage sites for U.S. troops: United States, Europe, Afloat, Southwest Asia, and Pacific and Northeast Asia.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is located in Southwest Asia.
Now with Ironhorse's mission changing, the team requires new equipment to sustain themselves.
"We are serving as a mobile response force, and that is part of the (Central Command area of operations) security plan," said Lt. Col. Edmond Brown, commander of the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, about the new mission. "So we are going back to more of a traditional mission as a fires battalion that supports the brigade commander's intent for fires and for combat operations if that were to occur."
As a mobile response force, a critical element is always being ready.
"We have the capability, we have the capacity, but for us to be truly ready to do our mission for this region, we have to increase our readiness," Brown said. "So, to get there, we have to train."
Training is at the top of the Dragons' to-do list.
"We are going to be able to shoot a lot of artillery," Brown said with a smile. "There is a significant amount of class work that has to be done to ensure people pass tests and are certified academically to do militarily what their job is."
Brown said they began the classroom training the day after they arrived from Iraq. With the majority of classroom training complete, the Dragons are moving on to crew-level drills.
"We are going to focus at the crew levels for the howitzer, the radar, for the metro section and for the fire directions center. We'll focus on the crew and then we'll continue to span that out to other collective groups: platoons, batteries, companies and battalion," said Brown.
The battalion plans on starting its training as early as Jan. 12.
In order to train and complete its mission, the battalion needed to get the essential equipment, resulting in Dragon soldiers spending three to five days drawing their equipment.
"We drew a battalion's worth of equipment," Brown said.
A battalion's worth of equipment is around 80 wheeled vehicles and from 40 to 50 tracked vehicles with associated trailers, tool kits, automation and communication equipment, weapons, parts and repair parts.
"The quality of the equipment is far and above the standard," said Col. Scott Efflandt, commander of the Ironhorse Brigade. "I'm excited to get back to our roots and begin training our wonderful soldiers again."