When the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers deploy soon, they will be ready for the fight.
They took their training to the woods of Fort Bragg, May 4, to perform a combined arms live-fire exercise to sharpen their warrior skills.
In recent weeks, other parachute infantry regiments, as well as Soldiers of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment also participated in the training, said Capt. John Moore, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. PAO.
The exercise is a culminating event for training that began on the team level, and continued upward to the squad and platoon level, said 1st Sgt. Michael Reyna, 1st Bn., 505th PIR. It involved a huge assortment of personnel and equipment, from Berettas to 240 Lima machine guns to AT4 anti-tank rocket launchers; mounted and dismounted elements, attack helicopters and Ravens.
“It’s (training) validating that they can maneuver a company — conduct live-fires in the event that we deploy,” explained Sgt. Maj. Christopher Donaldson, 1st Bn., 505th PIR. Soldiers have to able to achieve the commander’s intent.
It’s training that the Soldiers seemed to appreciate.
“It helps us become better and more organized as a company, become a more lethal company,” said Sgt. John Castilloux, a radio telephone operator with the 1st Bn., 505th PIR. “You get to know what you’re capable of out here in the field by knowing that you are able to put these men in the right spots and put down lethality downrange.”
The exercise is an important one because it helps Soldiers get better training and may save some lives downrange, added Spc. Addison Curtis.
The CALFEX shows that Soldiers can deploy from Pope Army Airfield to anywhere in the world within 96 hours and execute a deliberate attack, said Maj. Andrew Rhodes. “It’s not your regular day in the office,” he said.
Smaller elements can deploy in 18 hours, added Capt. Michael Nilsen. Soldiers can execute SOSRA, a breach method used against the enemy: suppress the enemy, obscure with smoke, secure the near and far side of an obstacle, reduce the threat against Soldiers and assault the enemy.
“Each leader is thinking one to two steps ahead,” he said. “We’re getting them ready for the fight. You don’t know where it’s going to be, you don’t know when, but you do know it’s going to be complex and it’s going to be hard.”
Nilsen said, “Everything that we are doing here is to build readiness for us to be able to jump, fight and win.”