The 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Greywolf” has been training in preparation for a rotation to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, and for future deployments.
The situational training exercise will test every company in the brigade’s M1 Abrams crews, infantry soldiers and reconnaissance elements ability to defend a tank position, attack an objective and movement to contact, according to the Army’s company training requirements and commander’s intent.
“What we are training is every company-sized element, approximately 100 people in a company. Going through their validation exercises to prepare ourselves for the National Training Center,” said Col. Kevin Capra, the Greywolf brigade commander.
Capra said not only are the brigade’s tankers and infantry soldiers training, but also artillery, engineers, supply personnel, medical and food supply specialists. He said the training will help to evaluate a wide array of skills the units must possess to be successful.
“What we try to look at is how we issue our operations orders, how are we doing our inspections and rehearsals, do we have the right graphics, looking at how we sustain these operations with fuel and ammunition, how do we protect ourselves with our engineers providing mobility, counter-mobility and survivability and how do we integrate our enablers we have like military intelligence, our unmanned aerial systems, and then integrate that with our field artillery fire as well,” Capra said. “It’s a lot of complex moving pieces that enable us to provide simultaneous dilemmas for the enemy.”
Capra said there were three types of missions the companies were working on. He said the force-on-force portion allowed the soldiers to get back to the fundamentals.
“The fundamentals of delivering operation orders, developing graphics and graphic control measures so we don’t have fratricide, do pre-combat checks and then pre-combat inspections beforehand, radio checks, checking ammunition and checking night vision devices because we are doing both day and night iterations,” Capra said. “We then go from that to multiple types of rehearsals, because this can get pretty complex when you have two converging units.”
Lafayette, Louisiana native Maj. Mike Hebert, an observer controller trainer for the exercise and an operations officer with 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, Greywolf brigade, said the training will also prepare the company for the next phase of training, which will involve evaluation of the brigade by the 1st Cavalry Division.
“We are doing this to get ready for “Pegasus Forge,” which is actually a division-run event where we will be evaluated by the 1st Cavalry Division, so this is our training phase to get ready for that,” Hebert said. “This is the crawl phase; that will be the walk, and then when we get to NTC that will be the run phase of the training.”
Hebert said company training of this nature was very important.
“Every company in the brigade (is observed) to make sure they’re meeting their training standards and identifying issues and trying to correct them,” Hebert said.
Hebert said the brigade commander provided his intent for the training utilizing the division commander Maj. Gen. Paul T. Calvert’s training guidance to carry out the exercise.
“It’s very clear, and we use that to give the companies their after action reviews,” Hebert said.
Hebert said the lane he was overseeing was the defense portion of the exercise.
“We have two attack companies that will be coming from north to south on this lane, and the company I’m evaluating here is going to be defending against those two attacking companies — and they are all tank companies,” Hebert said.
Staff Sgt. Manuel Rodriguez, from Stockton, California, a tank commander with Greywolf, said the exercise is an opportunity for the crews get certified and learn how to work together.
“This is getting us to work better as a team and a company,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said this type of training is conducted approximately every six months and this is his fourth time going through the exercise.
“It’s just like any job anybody has — if you don’t continue to do something, you will lose it and you won’t understand your job,” Rodriguez said. “If these guys don’t understand what they need to do on a tank, if we can’t trust them do this here, we can’t trust them to do it somewhere else.”
Capra said the training would continue with day and night training missions until Sept. 21.
“We are the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, ‘Greywolf’,” Capra said. “We’re lethal, we’re ready, we’re resilient; we are Greywolf!”