Paratroopers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conducted a three-day field training exercise at Fort Bragg, Sept. 12 through 14.
Designed to challenge the brigade’s ability to secure an enemy facility and transport large amounts of seized equipment on short notice, the exercise proved the Global Response Force component could get the job done despite limited resources.
“The squadron received a very tough, yet realistic mission which truly tested our systems, coordination ability, equipment and our paratroopers,” said Sgt Maj. Anton J. Hillig, operations sergeant major for the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment. “The troopers of the squadron became very proficient at core competencies that they have not had an opportunity to train on, such as conducting convoy escort and route security, as we transported large stockpiles of munitions from a hostile objective to a safe area with the assistance of attached units.”
On the afternoon of Sept. 13, paratroopers from the 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, conducted an air assault to extend the range of artillery support for maneuver forces for the scheduled operation.
Using CH-47 Chinook helicopters, three trucks and two howitzers were brought in by sling load. Within minutes, the gun crews set up and began fire missions to demonstrate their accuracy with the weapons. They also set up radar equipment to identify the source of enemy mortar attacks. Called the lightweight counter-mortar radar, the system identifies the location of enemy indirect fire so that troops can return fire.
With indirect fire support for the maneuvering troops established, paratroopers of the 1 Sqdn., 73rd Cav. Regt. arrived under cover of night to secure the enemy compound. Working with members of the 3rd Special Forces Group, the cavalry squadron took possession of the facility and provided security while 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion paratroopers gained entry into locked rooms and bunkers. Careful inventory and documentation of the weapons followed and then the force loaded the stockpile into trucks. As morning approached, trucks pulled away with the confiscated cargos and the mission was declared a success.
“This training event demonstrated is Troop C’s ability to conduct long range reconnaissance and conduct sensitive site exploitation,” said Capt. Andrew J. Stevens, commander of C Troop, 1 Sqdn., 73rd Cav. Regt. “As dismounted reconnaissance, Troop C is expected to conduct long movements, provide continuous reconnaissance to provide the brigade commander with situational awareness and conduct follow-on missions to support 2nd BCT and the GRF mission.”
The Falcons have spent the last year as the GRF mission’s dedicated forcible entry component.
Next month, the brigade is scheduled to hand over the responsibility to the division’s 3rd Brigade.