Attention to detail and synchrony of efforts are at an all-time high for the Ironhorse Brigade as units across the formation gather to conduct drivers training in preparation for the summer of 2019 training cycle.
From the end of May to the middle of June, troopers from across Ironhorse Brigade have conducted initial and refresher drivers training on Fort Hood and the Fort Hood Training Area to ensure all drivers and vehicle commanders are prepared to tackle the challenge of moving to and from the training areas.
Over 1,000 troopers from 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment “Garry Owen,” 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment “Lancers” and 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment “Stallions” conducted drivers training in a three phase operation. The first phase was the operations order, where all leadership were briefed on the sequence of events and the timeline for drivers training to be conducted.
The second phase was the classroom portion where troopers were given presentations from battalion master drivers on all the necessary information to new or recertifying drivers on safety, maintenance and inclement weather plans.
“This portion of the drivers training was the most significant and I will never forget it,” Spc. Michael Alford from Company B, 2nd Bn., 5th Cav. Regt., said. “It is great to learn the basics of the vehicles before we are put behind the wheel.”
“There is such an emphasis on safety during this course that our drivers will know these are large vehicles and should never be taken for granted,” Sgt. Howard Katz, 2nd Bn., 8th Cav. Regt. master driver, said.
The training is culminated with a day and nighttime driving portion, where troopers will drive using night vision googles to simulate combat operations. They are also expected to learn the proper way to perform maintenance and paperwork to keep their vehicles in top-notch shape.
“I’m really excited to do the night drivers training with the NVG’s,” Pfc. Kevin Crowell, from Co. C, 2nd Bn., 8th Cav. Regt., said. “The instructors are definitely subject matter experts and I am glad they are teaching us how to do it right, so we can be the best we can during all phases of the training”.
The significance of this training event is that it is the first drivers training on this scale to be conducted since the Ironhorse Brigade returned from thier deployment to Europe, where the brigade drove through 11 different countries across Central and Eastern Europe while deployed to Atlantic Resolve 18.
It was also significant because this training is in preparation for the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, where the brigade will drive hundreds of total miles across some of the most challenging terrain the U.S. Army has to offer.
“While the brigade was in Europe our battalion logged hundreds of miles driving across multiple countries,” Sgt. Rito Gray, 2nd Bn., 5th Cav. Regt. master driver, said. “We recognized the significance then and are taking those lessons learned and preparing the next generation of drivers and vehicle commanders across our formations.”
Drivers training is a 40 hour course and puts all drivers and vehicle commanders in a position to be prepared for the training cycle, NTC and to be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, no matter the location or terrain.