Gunnery is in full swing this fall as the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division gears up for another brigade inclusive training exercise in November, and a rotation to the National Training Center in February.
A 36-day gunnery training exercise kicked off in mid-September, and soldiers with the brigade’s 2nd “Stallion” Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment conducted Tables III and IV with M1A2 Abrams tanks Sept. 23.
These tables cover stationary and moving target engagements which will lead to crew qualification tables later in the exercise.
Normally, crew qualification is conducted every six months while platoon qualification is annual, said Staff Sgt. William Roark, master gunner for the battalion’s Charlie Company.
This exercise will qualify Stallions for the second time this year, and certify companies on both tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles through company collective gunnery and maneuver training.
Since this summer’s gunnery, Roark said some crews have changed, with Stallion soldiers moving into different roles, shifting from either loader or driver to gunner.
A loader during his first gunnery, Pfc. Corey Troxell is now a gunner and thinks his crew and others have adapted well to the new rosters.
“They’re performing their jobs correctly, we’re hitting everything that we need to and everything is going smoothly,” he said.
Cohesion is what allows crews to work well together and perform successfully.
“Everything about being a tanker is teamwork,” Troxell said.
Tank crews must be synced at all times, Roark said. The whole crew can fail if a driver is out of sync, a gunner misses a target, or a loader cannot arm the gun in time.
“You work as a crew all the time,” he added. “As a tank crew, you’re a family.”