Spc. Lawrence Shepherd, a mechanic with Bravo Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, engages his target during the Gamblers reflexive live-fire exercise Feb. 28 at a Fort Hood.

U.S. Army/Sgt. Quentin Johnson

Gunshots ring in the distance as soldiers kick in a door and clear a room during training hosted by the 15th “Gamblers” Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

More than 50 Gambler soldiers participated in a two-day reflexive live-fire exercise Feb. 27-28.

Teams of four to five soldiers conducted two-part training each day, starting with reflexive fire — advanced rifleman’s marksmanship methods where soldiers use quicker reaction time to move and shoot simultaneously from various starting positions — then onto basics of military operations on urban terrain, said Staff Sgt. Lynell Mines, noncommissioned officer in charge of the exercise.

“Reflexive fire is more than basic weapons qualification, it’s refined shooting. It’s techniques that require the soldier to react quickly — less hesitation when identifying and engaging enemy targets — regardless of what posture they are in,” Mines said.

Soldiers also were trained on the basics of urban warfare to enhance the quick reaction response utilized in reflexive fire, he said.

“Using a two-story housing structure, soldiers were taught on the basics of breaching and clearing rooms, including maneuvering hallways and through doorways, in five-man teams,” Mines said.

These are skills every soldier must possess but are perishable if not trained on or refined, Mines said. Regardless of their job positions, soldiers need to be prepared for deployments and combat.

“Whether you are a supply specialist or cook, we are all soldiers first,” Mines said. “(Gambler) soldiers need to be prepared for any mission because missions always change. I know this from personal experience during my past deployments.”

The combat veteran said all the skills learned during the Gamblers live fire he used during past deployments whether providing security or on foot patrols.

Pfc. Jon Collins, a combat medic with Chalrie Company, said he expects to use all skills learned during the exercise if he deploys or is ever in combat.

“The training itself is better for real world applications than just qualifying with my weapon would be,” Collins said. “Being assigned to a gun truck crew, I feel prepared, especially if I have to dismount during a patrol.”

He also found the extensiveness of the training beneficial.

“Morale between the soldiers is high. I think, like me, they all enjoy getting to train on different skills and being outside of the normal workplace.”

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