Lights Outs; Night Vision Only
(January 12, 2011)
Sgt. Luis Garcia, Oakland, Calif., native, supply sergeant for Battery A, 26th Field Artillery Regiment (Target Acquisition Battery), 41st Fires Brigade, checks his map to find the unit's current eight-digit grid coordinate during a joint training mission with the Georgia National Guard at Fort Hood, Texas, Jan. 5. The soldiers with Battery A, 26th FA Regt. assisted the 171st Aviation Battalion with the Georgia National Guard with operation Tracker Strike.
Texas (1/5/2011) —While the sun set in the west,
Wolfpack soldiers rose in the north.
teams equipped with night vision goggles inserted
into an “enemy” area by CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
Once the helicopters touched the ground, the
Soldiers unloaded their special cargo, along with
three Humvees and operation Tracker Strike
Soldiers with Battery A, 26th
Field Artillery Regiment (Target Acquisition
Battery), 41st Fires Brigade, air assaulted into the
dark of the night to secure an area, protect their
cargo, find their current grid location and convoy
back to friendly territory during a joint-service
training mission on Fort Hood, Texas, Jan. 5.
The TAB artillerymen participated in a mission
readiness exercise to help troopers of the 171st
Aviation Battalion, with the Georgia National Guard,
prepare for their upcoming deployment.
“Through connections at Division West, we found out
about the 171st Aviation Battalion MRX and we
assisted them as the offensive force,” said Capt.
Dashiell Ballarta, a Pflugerville, Texas, native,
commander for the Battery A, 26th FA Regt. (TAB).
“Operation Tracker Strike had dual purpose. First,
the aviation battalion was able to insert a small
team into position according to their mission plan.
Second, we got experience moving internal loads in
CH-47s, traveling across longer distances,
conducting night mounted land navigation and small
As the Chinook took off,
Team A and C secured the perimeter as point man,
Sgt. Luis Garcia, an Oakland, Calif., native, made
quick work of locating Wolfpack's current location.
“I'm fortunate to be in a unit that prides
itself with good training,”
|said Garcia. “I'm even
comfortable using the night vision goggles because a
lot of units rarely do night training.”
Once Garcia had his grid coordinates he was able to plot a
convoy route back home.|
“Nighttime brings a whole new
perspective to land navigation,” said Garcia. “Land
navigation is difficult with the sun up, I'm just glad that
this isn't my first training at night. It takes time working
under limited visibility.”
“It's pretty paramount
that every unit conducts night training; refining our
ability to own the night using special thermal equipment or
night vision goggles that we have at our disposal to extend
our operational and tactical abilities,” said Ballarta.
Before beginning the last half of their training, the
Wolfpack soldiers conducted a quick after action review to
discuss the good and bad from the training.
very important to train at all hours of the day, you never
know when or at what time a situation calls you to duty,”
said Spc. Blake Essex from Carmel, Ind. “So it's important
to always be prepared. Unfortunately, war doesn't live on a
This training mission further prepares
TAB soldiers for their upcoming non-firing radar
certification exercise, where they will operate, maintain,
and employ a radar in a contingency operation in support of
the 41st Fires Bde.
Article and photo by Army SSgt. Kyle Richardson|
41st Fires Brigade, PAO
Comment on this article