In the distance is the sound of an incoming OH-58 Kiowa helicopter. The noise of the rotary blades gets louder as the aircraft crests above the tree line near an open field. The helicopter pilots acquire a target and launch two rockets, blasting the field to demonstrate the helicopterís lethal capabilities.
Paratroopers assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, look on from Observation Post 13 as the destruction unfolds during their unitís combined arms live fire training exercise at Fort Bragg, Sept. 17.
During the training, paratroopers equipped with M4 rifles, M240B machine guns, M320 grenade launchers, AT-4 anti-tank weapons and mobile 60mm mortar launchers took their training to the next level. They teamed up with two OH-58 Kiowa helicopters, artillerymen firing 120 and 105mm howitzers and an attachment of paratroopers operating humvees equipped with heavy weapons.
The platoons moved through rough terrain, dispersing into assignments such as machine gun teams supporting over-watch, maneuver assault elements, obstacle breaching teams, room clearing teams and medical evacuation teams.
The event is the culmination of many months of hard work, said Sgt. Michael Greismer, a weapons squad leader assigned to Co. A.
Greismer said the training began at the individual Soldier level, transitioned to the team level and progressed to completing a platoon-level, live fire exercise. The current exercise, combined arms live fire exercise, brought all the platoons together to work as a company.
The best part about the training was watching the paratroopers grow professionally, Greismer continued. He said itís reassuring to see young leaders call out commands, give sectors of fire and execute everything they have been trained to perform.
The training will continue for the paratroopers as they are slated to support the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div. during an upcoming rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana.
"The progress from the last six to eight months has been absolutely astounding, especially the junior leaders within the organization," said Capt. Kyle Frazer, commander of Co. A. "After this, we refine the training weíve learned and apply that at JRTC so we can provide a fully capable company of lethal and effective combat power."