Nov. 4, 2007

1-111th Fires Bn. preps for water operations on the James River

A Fort Eustis Soldier guides a HMMWV from the Virginia Guard's 1-111th Fires Bn. onto dry land during October's training on the James River (Photo by Capt. Fred Moore, HHB 1-111th Fires Bn.)

Courtesy of 1-111th Fires Bn.

FORT EUSTIS, Va. – For the first time in more than 50 years, 29th Infantry Division Soldiers employed landing craft. Soldiers from 1-111th Fires Battalion cross-trained with active duty troops from the 1098 th Transportation Company during October’s drill weekend.

Working together, Army soldiers labored for three hours loading, securing, and transporting Blue Force Tracker equipped rolling stock, equipment, and 25-personnel from Mulberry Island to the Reserve Fleet in the middle of the James River and back safely.

For some soldiers, “Army-yachting” out into the James River was their first time on a boat as well as their first close up view of the Reserve or “Ghost” Fleet.

As the principal reaction unit for state emergencies, the Fires Bn. Incident Response Force (IRF) is continuously fusing non artillery-related skill sets into its training calendar in order to meet the mission requirements necessary for homeland defense. Training over the past six months has integrated hands-on chainsaw instruction and tree removal, rappelling, hand-to-hand defense tactics, Blue Force Tracker (FBCB2) applications, and familiarity exercises with multiple transportation systems by land, sea, and air.

“The concept for today’s marine operations is two fold; expose our IRF-team to alternate forms of military transportation and interaction with our active component counterparts posted here in Virginia,” said Capt. Fred Moore. “ Virginia has over 2,000 miles of navigable coastline and we should take advantage of that avenue of approach. If there were ever an incident I can guarantee every primary road will be congested. With the LCM-8 landing craft, every river with a boat dock or beach becomes a highway for the IRF.”

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