GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is busy on the ranges throughout the Grafenwoehr Training Area since arriving in country, continuing the mission by training and qualifying while in theater for Atlantic Resolve.
Troopers quickly met the goal to fire every weapon system to ensure the brigade’s readiness to fight with precision and lethality while training new personnel, and ultimately being validated.
Due to the perpetual influx of new personnel, range time is an important aspect of military operations. Although first term Soldiers gain significant knowledge of their individual specialty prior to arriving to a combat unit, live fire exercises are paramount to develop the confidence needed for a Soldier to perform their job in a combat environment.
“It’s just good training,” Sgt. 1st Class Jason Boyle, the brigade’s master gunner, said. “All the crews that are firing now are brand new, so we’re not expecting them to come out here and shoot 900’s all across the board, but they’re getting good reps in to get that experience to become better tank crews.”
The Ironhorse Soldiers have grown accustomed to additional COVID mandates and refer to them as the “new normal.”
“We’ve been able to put in COVID mitigations and make sure that we are staying safe, keeping spacing and maintaining personal hygiene,” 1st Lt. Alexandra Goldhorn, a Bradley scout platoon leader in 1st Squadron, 7th Cav. Regt., said. “We’re constantly wearing our masks inside and outside the vehicles … and we’re doing constant COVID testing.”
Another consideration is the Bavarian winter weather. Snow and ice can present a real challenge for crews familiar to the mild Texas climate, and creates an opportunity to gain experience.
With diligence and perseverance, the Abrams and Bradley crews continue to find success.
“We’ve been fighting the beast, but the last couple of days, the weather hasn’t been too bad,” Staff Sgt. Miguel Albertson, a tank commander in 1st Sqdn., 7th Cav. Regt., said. “The snow has been hard to see through out on the ranges, but we feel good, our confidence is great and I know for sure we qualified today.”
Regardless of the challenges faced by the Abrams and Bradley crews, high motivation and confidence are on full display and is shown in the perfection exhibited in their execution of gunnery tables.
The focus on qualification, teamwork and training is paramount to readiness and completing the mission. The troopers of the Ironhorse Brigade are proving once again that the Army is second to none in achieving its goals.
“Our Army is always ready,” Goldhorn said. “We’re constantly training and constantly making sure that we’re ready, whatever the task may be. Whether it’s our presence here in Europe, or a combat deployment, or being at home station. We’re ready and we’re constantly training to do whatever the military asks of us and whatever our nation needs.”