To continue to push themselves further and faster, troopers of 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, conducted the Recon Readiness Challenge last week.
“Throughout the course you’re expected to have a high state of readiness, both mentally and physically,” said Capt. Brian Jones, of squadron operations.
The 1.8-mile course began with physical challenges such as burpees and carrying two 5-gallon water jugs. Soldiers also had to assess and call in a casualty and an improvised explosive device, and shoot 20 rounds with a 9 mm handgun. Soldiers were scored on speed and precision, with those who passed earning a “Phantom Recon” Squadron belt buckle.
“These are skill level one tasks we should be proficient on at any given time,” said Staff Sgt. David Gemick. The challenge was transitioning between each task.
“It was definitely stressful from being tired and not wanting to miss something,” he said. “That’s why we train the way we train, to be able to complete the task with muscle memory.”
Earlier this month, the squadron trained on riot control operations. In keeping with an emphasis on skills used for peacekeeping and stability scenarios, soldiers did not wear full combat gear. While a handgun wasn’t a soldier’s typical weapon in Iraq or Afghanistan, it could be carried while conducting patrols in more a relaxed environment.
At the shooting range portion of the course, Sgt. Danilo Mateo said he was watching to make sure soldiers had situational awareness and an understanding of weapon safety — even with an increased heart rate.
“Did they (identify) the target, and not just start shooing at it?” he said. He wanted to see them calm down and work under pressure.
“Putting it all together was tougher than I anticipated, honestly,” 1st Lt. Dave Linder said. “It was a good test to see where I’m at personally. I can evaluate myself and pick up those things I need to work at.”
While this challenge tested individuals, Jones said the next step is to work as teams.
“It’s really about esprit de corps and cohesion,” Jones said. “It builds your confidence to know your peers are on par with you and challenging you.”