FORT HOOD — The troops of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s 3rd Squadron have each other’s back in a real fight, but this week’s training event generated a bit of “sibling rivalry” among the troopers.
On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Jonathan Byrom, commander of “Thunder” Squadron, gave three troops — Grim, Heavy and Ironhawk — a mission that pitted each one against each other for ultimate bragging rights. Essentially, each troop was tasked with capturing a high-value target from the others within a 36-hour time frame.
“What we are doing is simulating a training center rotation,” Byrom said. The unit will go to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., later this year.
The squadron designated some soldiers as observer-controllers, as well as outfitting soldiers with the multiple integrated laser engagement system, an advanced “laser tag” system, to track casualties and downed equipment.
Troop commanders could call for additional assets, such as air defense or helicopters, and were encouraged to think outside of the box.
“No. 1, we want to put them in situations where they don’t have the restrictions of the live-fire range,” Byrom said. “I want them mentally challenged ... and to aggressively come up with solutions to problems.”
To maximize training, the squadron coordinated with other assets across post conducting their own training requirements allowed within budget constraints. This allowed for an air assault, but many other assets called in during the training were approved notionally.
“We are being creative with the budget constraints,” Byrom said.
More than 400 troopers have been in the field for nearly a week, conducting situational training before the troop-on-troop battle began.
“It’s been pretty intense,” said Pfc. Jeremy Williams, an infantryman with Grim Troop.
He said he could already see the long-term benefits of the training.
“It’s just knowing our job,” he said. “We have the knowledge to know what to do without anyone telling us.”