Contact, 12 o’clock! With eyes on the objective Ironhorse troopers begin to fire rounds at the enemy. Once the dust settled, tanks and Bradleys maneuver to provide better coverage for the troopers on the ground, the radios begin to transmit.
“We have eyes on the objective, break. Three enemy down, break. Requesting confirmation on call for fire. How copy, over?”
With the Thunderhorse Battalion providing the support by fire, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, known as Stallion and Garryowen respectively, maneuvered to assault the opposing force head on.
“Garryowen has rapid and forceful reconnaissance to our position on the screen line which enables follow-on elements in the Ironhorse to assault through the objectives,” Capt. Brandon Eans, Garryowen fire support officer, said. “Ironhorse moves as one. Our lethality comes from our communication with our sister battalions and brigade to move and execute across the battlefield.”
The lethality, readiness and firepower of the entire 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team was tested during the 1st Cavalry Division level training event, Pegasus Forge V.
“The synchronization across the brigade and division is our biggest takeaway from Pegasus Forge,” Command Sgt. Maj. Raul Sierra, 2nd Bn., 5th Cav. Regt., said. “The coordination and communication of various capabilities from air support, tanks, Bradleys, heavy artillery and logistics; utilizing and getting those platforms to the lowest warfighting element was really on display during Pegasus Forge.”
With UH-60 Black Hawks flying above, tanks and Bradleys positioning themselves on the ground, the infantrymen of the Ironhorse Brigade can maneuver themselves against the enemy without being seen or heard.
“We did the best to hold off the OPFOR with everything that we had and maintain fire superiority even in austere conditions,” Lancer infantryman Spc. Alexander Godard said.
The conditions throughout the ranges on Fort Hood made this Pegasus Forge a dirty one.
“The weather set the stage for our troopers,” Col. Michael Schoenfeldt, Ironhorse commander, said.
The rain poured in for more than half the time Ironhorse troopers took to the field. Once it stopped, the rain only left mountains of mud, thick enough to pose a threat to the troopers maneuvering on the ground and even the mobility of Ironhorse’s heavy track-wheeled vehicles.
“The lethality of our troopers is not tested when the weather is perfect,” Schoenfeldt said regarding the austere weather conditions the troopers faced during Pegasus Forge.
“When the rain sets in and makes the ground impossible to navigate through, when the cold pierces through a troopers cold weather gear and that trooper still brings aggression and lethality to the enemy is when our troopers are most deadly and what makes the Ironhorse Brigade the combat power house it is,” Schoenfeldt added.
Pegasus Forge is just the tip of the iceberg as the Ironhorse Brigade looks further down the road to their National Training Center rotation this spring and their readiness whenever the country needs them.
“Looking at NTC and beyond, whether it’s a training exercise or real combat/war situation, we’re clearly ready to take that challenge head-on,” Lancer Battalion Training Officer 2nd Lt. Mark Wheeler, said. “Pegasus Forge definitely showed us our strengths and weaknesses and how we need to communicate and maneuver to become better.”
Although Pegasus Forge V showed the Ironhorse Brigade what improvements they needed to make to become a more ready and lethal fighting force, the enemy should not envy the unit that sees this brigade next on the battlefield.
“I personally would not want to stand opposite of this brigade during any combat driven mission, training event or otherwise,” Wheeler added. “As a brigade, we move as a unit, we communicate as a unit and if one trooper turns and shouts, ‘Contact, 12 o’clock,’ we’ll turn as a brigade and destroy the enemy as one unit.”