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Ironhorse gunnery applies ‘shoot, move, communicate’ skill sets

Email   Print   Share By Pfc. Paige Pendleton, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
June 13, 2013 | News
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A Bradley Fighting Vehicle from 2-8 Cav. Regt., 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., engages a target during a gunnery exercise at Fort Hood, June 2. Pfc. Paige Pendleton, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
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Pfc. Nicholas Froats and Pfc. Daniel Torres, both cavalry scouts with 1-7 Cav. Regt., 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., unload ammunition during gunnery training at Fort Hood, June 5. Pfc. Paige Pendleton, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
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A Bradley Fighting Vehicle from 2-8 Cav. Regt., 1st BCT, 1st Cav.. Div. engages a target during a gunnery exercise at Fort Hood, June 2. During the gunnery exercise, crews maneuvered their Bradley’s from varying distances to fire at pop-up and moving targets. Pfc. Paige Pendleton, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
Three fundamental skills all Soldiers learn are to shoot, move and communicate.

Soldiers assigned to the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division continued to sharpen these essential skills during a series of gunnery training exercises spanning from January to June at Fort Hood.

Battalions of the Ironhorse Brigade participated in mounted and dismounted gunnery training utilizing Bradley Fighting Vehicles and tanks.

Gunnery training ensures Soldiers maintain accuracy with their assigned weapons systems.

“It makes our crews trained and ready to fight,” said Sgt. 1st Class Richie Pozo, an infantryman assigned to 2nd “Stallion” Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.

Lt. Col. Kelvin Brown, commander of the Stallion Battalion, said the exercises demonstrated the crews’ proficiency with weapon systems, their ability to hit targets, maneuver and work as a cohesive team.

Brown said the graded events begin at the team and crew level, then advanced to collective-squad and platoon training, noting that some of the Soldiers participating in gunnery training have never fired tanks or Bradleys.

“In the end, it’s all about building lethal platoons,” Brown said. “That’s what it all boils down to. An individual tank or Bradley crew makes a lethal tank or Bradley platoon.”

Communication is No. 1 when it comes to gunnery, Brown emphasized. Soldiers must be able to talk to each other, know how and where to move and know what and when to shoot.

Pfc. Florentino Loya, an infantryman and Bradley driver in the Stallion Battalion, said drivers must listen closely to all fire commands and carefully guide the vehicle to maintain the gunner’s precision. If the gunner’s body is jerked by movement of the Bradley, the crew may miss a target.

“As a crew, we learn from our mistakes and we learn to communicate better,” Loya said.

The natural progression of crews was made evident throughout the training, Brown explained.

“You can see the video tapes, you can hear the audio and they respond and perform well as a crew,” Brown said. “Now those crews are working well together as platoons.”

Loya said his crew started out rough and he has learned a lot from his gunner.

Brown said his favorite part of gunnery is when a crew that is having difficulty with the training has a breakthrough and qualifies on their platform.

“You see the look in their eyes,” Brown said. “They’re confident in their system and they’re confident in their crew.”

There is still more training to come, but Loya said he has learned to be ready for a combat zone.

“This is the first real teambuilding event we’ve had as a

battalion in like nine months,” Brown said. “Gunnery is something that mechanized Soldiers look forward to.”
 
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