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Arrowhead Cavalry Scouts Hone Reconnaissance Skills
by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor - December 28, 2014

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – While outside observers might see the Army as an organization that specializes in things involving loud booms and bangs, there are many jobs that require a more stealthy approach. One particularly important job is that of the cavalry scout who is responsible for reconnaissance, which helps paint a picture for commanders on the ground of what terrain and enemies they might encounter.

Scouts with 1st Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, “Warhorse,” 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, recently returned from a month long training exercise at Yakima Training Center, Wash., where they focused on honing their reconnaissance skills while conducting Stryker vehicle crew training.

The training, known as gunnery, happened in increasingly difficult levels that worked to improve and certify the Stryker crews.

Two Stryker combat vehicle crew with 1st Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, “Warhorse,” 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, prepare to conduct live-fire training at Yakima Training Center on October 22, 2014. Warhorse Stryker crews conducted traditional live-fire training and also focused on developing their reconnaissance skills during the nearly month long training exercise at YTC. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)
Two Stryker combat vehicle crew with 1st Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, “Warhorse,” 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, prepare to conduct live-fire training at Yakima Training Center on October 22, 2014. Warhorse Stryker crews conducted traditional live-fire training and also focused on developing their reconnaissance skills during the nearly month long training exercise at YTC. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

During their stay, the scouts were tested on their ability to not only effectively fire their weapons and engage targets, but also on how well they conducted reconnaissance.

The unit accomplished this by setting up specialized areas, known as lanes. The scout crews were tasked with moving through the lanes while collecting information for the commander to help him formulate his plan.

“We were given intelligence on the area to find an enemy observation post,” said Sgt. Michael Schmidt, a Riddle, Ore., native and section leader with Troop B, 1st Bn., 14th Cav. Regt.
After finding the enemy position, Soldiers reported it to their commander before moving into a follow-up location where they were tasked with identifying and destroying enemy targets as they popped up.

“Basically, the commander doesn't know what is out there and our job is to figure out what's out there and enemy intent and confirm or deny enemy presence,” Schmidt said.

While all of the combat battalions within 3-2 SBCT were responsible for conducting some form of gunnery, the Warhorse battalion added an extra level of difficulty to their training.

“None of the infantry battalions are going to do the reconnaissance that we do, they just go out there, shoot gunnery and come back,” Schmidt said. “We're out there to paint a picture.”

This training was part of the brigade's Integrated Training Strategy, a broad training initiative designed to ensure that Soldiers have all the training necessary to accomplish any combat mission they are given.

Many of the crews who participated in the gunnery were new and had only a few opportunities to work together prior this training.

“I think every time that you go out as a newer group, because you have guys rotating constantly, you find out what kind of operating level you guys are working on and what strengths and weaknesses you can work out,” Schmidt said.

While many of the crews might have been new, they didn't let that deter them from accomplishing their mission.

“The Soldiers did very well,” said Capt. Kyle Bruffy, the Troop B commander. “There were some initial lessons learned ... however, once they worked through it, they became very proficient at engaging targets. They proved very lethal with their assigned weapons systems.”

With this training under the belts, the scouts are looking forward to whatever comes next and are more confident than ever in their ability to work as a team and conduct reconnaissance whenever they are called to do so.

By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Justin Naylor
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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