January 28, 2009

Cavalry Soldiers called on for inaugural support

By 2nd Lt. Scott E. Campbell
2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment

  2-183rd Cav. supports the inauguration

Soldiers of the 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment mount up and move out from Portsmouth Jan. 19 in support of the Presidential Inauguration. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Scott E. Campbell, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment)

PORTSMOUTH, Va — Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment mobilized in support of the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20.

The squadron fell into its ranks at the Portsmouth Armory early on the Jan. 19. The Soldiers were ready to move out toward Washington, D.C., shortly after that formation.

Under the command of Capt. Brett Gibson, Bravo Troop took on the role of a Quick Reaction Force and staged at the Fredericksburg Armory, prepared to move anywhere in the Washington, D.C., Metro area they might be needed.

Under the command of 1st Lt. Brian Gallavan, Alpha Troop also held the role of a Quick Reaction Force and staged at Fort A. P. Hill.

Alpha and Bravo Troop immediately established a tactical operations center, staged their vehicles, and were ready to respon to any mission within 15 minutes of notification. While the squadron waited for the word to "move out," Alpha Troop Soldiers honed their skills with Long Range Advanced Surveillance Systems training.

"This was an opportunity to see how quickly and effectively the Cav. could notify, muster, mobilize, and move out,” Gallavan said. “It was impressive to witness the culmination of efforts. Over the period of a few short days, our Soldiers mastered the capabilities of our mission essential equipment including our new Harris radios, LRAS systems, Blue Force Trackers, and various optics."

Bravo Troop Soldiers took the opportunity to conduct classes to better prepare Soldiers for upcoming training events. The classes covered tasks required of a Soldier when conducting a reconnaissance screen operation, such as zone reconnaissance, route reconnaissance, and how to develop a range card.

2-183rd Cav supports the inauguration

Lt. Col Korsen congratulates Sgt. Mark Whitney and thanks him for a job well done during the mission to support the inauguration. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Scott E. Campbell, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment)

Soldiers who are new to the unit were also able to further familiarize themselves with some of the more technical equipment they will use in the Cavalry, such as the LRAS3. Classes were completed on Tuesday morning and Soldiers took the time in the afternoon to watch news coverage of the Inauguration.

“The mission was a complete success,” said Lt. Col. Bill Korsen, the squadron commander. “We were able to see just how quickly the squadron could be pulled into active service, muster, and deploy in response to an emergency in the state.”

The mission was such a success, in fact, that nine Soldiers from the squadron were awarded the Army Achievement Medal for their efforts in helping the Squadron accomplish its mission and additional awards will be presented at a later date.

Among the Soldiers decorated for the Inaugural Support Mission was Sgt. Mark Whitney, an infantryman assigned to Charlie Troop. Whitney was the acting platoon sergeant for Bravo Troop’s third platoon, which was made up of Soldiers from Charlie Troop. This position is usually filled by a sergeant first class, a post two pay grades above Whitney’s current rank.

“He really stepped up to the plate when we needed him to,” Gibson said of Whitney. “No one can expect that type of performance from everyone, but when it does happen it will not be overlooked.”

“Across the Squadron everyone did the jobs we needed them to do,” Korsen said. “There weren’t many issues, our Soldiers quickly mobilized and were focused and ready to go on Monday morning. That mission focused attitude stuck with us throughout the mission.”

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