This summer, troopers with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment will deploy from Fort Hood on three very different missions.
“It’s been an interesting challenge,” said regimental commander Col. Cameron Cantlon of preparing his Stryker brigade combat team to deploy simultaneously to Afghanistan, Egypt and Cuba.
Despite the challenges of three train ups, he said he has “faith and confidence” troopers will be successful at each mission.
“It is fully in line with our Army doctrine: Mission command,” he said. “Mission command entails training units so they can conduct decentralized operations.”
Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Heinze said the unit has had two years since its last deployment to Iraq to prepare and train.
Being selected for these three missions shows “the unit is adaptive” and “flexible,” he said, while pointing out this isn’t unique to the Brave Rifles, because all Army brigades train hard.
“They are hungry and eager to attack any assigned mission,” he said. “The resilience of these troopers is phenomenal. I couldn’t be more proud.”
The regiment’s command group and about 2,000 troopers will leave this summer for Afghanistan to replace 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, out of Fort Drum, N.Y, in Regional Command East.
A rotation earlier this year at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., validated the regiment for this mission, Cantlon said. Soldiers also spent time with the Austin Police Department’s SWAT team to train on individual and small unit tactics to defeat an insider threat. In particular, a kinetic threat inside of a meeting or building, the colonel said.
“Police are great at that because, SWAT especially, train for those events routinely,” Cantlon said.
Meanwhile, soldiers in the regiment’s 4th Squadron trained to serve in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as part of the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping force. Troops deployed last month, replacing 1st Cavalry Division’s 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
“When you look at the peacekeeping mission, it takes on a whole separate skillset of tasks,” Heinze said. “It’s night and day.”
The 400 soldiers deployed there spent time on nonlethal training, as did the soldiers of Crazyhorse Troop, 1st Squadron, who will be leaving for Cuba in the coming months.
“It was a team effort across all of III Corps,” said troop commander Capt. Anthony Oliver of the training schedule to prepare soldiers to conduct detention facility operations at Guantanamo Bay.
With the help of Division West, the infantry company underwent military police training at Fort Bliss in March.
“It was a whole new skillset for us to learn,” he said. “The training was outstanding.”
Bringing soldiers to a different mission than they’ve seen over the past 12 years, Oliver said it’s important to conduct operations in the most professional manner possible.
“A little finer polishing goes into that,” he said.
Oliver said as the troop prepares to deploy, he wants families to know that even though soldiers are on a separate mission, they are still part of the regiment.
“The regiment is good at ... making sure everybody has the same resources available,” Oliver said.
Heinze said each unit deploying has strong family readiness groups trained.
“Everybody knows the family is the strength behind the soldier,” he said.
Both Cantlon and Heinze said they look forward to nine months from now, when the entire regiment is back together at Fort Hood.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.