“Contact 12 o’clock!”
With eyes on the objective, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team “Ironhorse” troopers began to fire rounds at the enemy.
Once the dust settled, tanks and Bradleys maneuvered to provide better coverage for the 1st Cavalry Division troopers on the ground and the radio attached to the hip of a platoon leader for 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment “Thunderhorse” began to transmit.
“We have eyes on the objective, break. Three enemy down, break. Requesting confirmation on call for fire, how copy, over?”
With the Thunderhorse Battalion providing the support by fire, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment and 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, “Stallion” and “Garryowen” respectively, maneuvered to assault the opposing force head on.
“Garryowen has rapid and forceful reconnaissance to our position on the screen line, which enables follow-on elements in the Ironhorse to assault through the objectives,” said the squadron’s fire support officer, Capt. Brandon Eans. “Ironhorse moves as one. Our lethality comes from our communication with our sister battalions and brigade to move and execute across the battlefield.”
The lethality, readiness and firepower of the entire 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team was tested during the 1st Cavalry Division-level training event, Pegasus Forge V.
“The synchronization across the brigade and division is our biggest takeaway from Pegasus Forge,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Raul Sierra, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment “Lancer” senior enlisted advisor. “The coordination and communication of various capabilities from air support, tanks, bradleys, heavy artillery and logistics; utilizing and getting those platforms to the lowest warfighting element was really on display during Pegasus Forge.”
With UH-60 Black Hawks flying above and tanks and Bradleys positioning themselves on the ground, the infantrymen of Ironhorse can maneuver themselves against the enemy without being seen or heard.
“We did the best to hold off the (opposition forces) with everything that we had and maintain fire superiority even in austere conditions,” said Lancer infantryman Spc. Alexander Godard.
The conditions throughout the ranges on Fort Hood made this Pegasus Forge a dirty one.
“The weather set the stage for our trooper’s,” said Col. Michael Schoenfeldt, the brigade’s commander.
The rain poured in for more than half the time the trooper’s took to the field. Once it stopped, the rain only left mountains of mud — thick enough to pose a threat to the troopers maneuvering on the ground and even the mobility of the brigade’s heavy track-wheeled vehicles.
“The lethality of our troopers is not tested when the weather is perfect,” Schoenfeldt added, regarding the austere weather conditions the soldiers faced during Pegasus Forge. “When the rain sets in and makes the ground impossible to navigate through, when the cold pierces through a trooper’s cold weather gear and that trooper still brings aggression and lethality to the enemy, is when our troopers are most deadly and what makes the Ironhorse brigade the combat power house it is.”
Pegasus Forge is just the tip of the iceberg as the brigade looks further down the road to their National Training Center (NTC) rotation this spring at Fort Irwin, Califlornia, and their readiness whenever the country needs them.
“Looking at NTC and beyond, whether it’s a training exercise or real combat/war situation, we’re clearly ready to take that challenge head-on,” said 2nd Lt. Mark Wheeler, traininig officer for 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment. “Pegasus Forge definitely showed us our strengths and weaknesses and how we need to communicate and maneuver to become better.”
Although Pegasus Forge V showed the brigade what improvements they needed to make to become a more ready and lethal fighting force, you should not envy the unit that sees this brigade next on the battlefield, he said.
“I personally would not want to stand opposite of this brigade during any combat driven mission, training event or otherwise,” added Wheeler. “As a brigade, we move as a unit, we communicate as a unit and if one trooper turns and shouts contact 12 o’clock — we’ll turn as a brigade and destroy the enemy as one unit.”