Oct. 6, 2011

116th BSTB gets back to basics during AT

By Cotton Puryear   
Virginia Department of Military Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers assigned to the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team focused on individual Soldier skills and Army Warrior Tasks during their annual training from Sept. 10-24 at Fort Pickett, culminating in the “Warrior Stakes” event where they were evaluated on those skills.

 

Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team navigate the Fort Pickett Air Assault Obstacle Course at the start of the "Warrior Stakes" training event Sept. 20 during the unit's two-week annual training period. The training event kicked off with Soldiers organized into three-person teams navigating obstacles on the Fort Pickett Air Assault Obstacle Course, followed by stations where they were evaluated on a number of different Army Warrior Tasks. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

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Soldiers in three-person teams navigated through 10 different stations where they were tested on tasks such a putting a tactical radio into operation, reacting to enemy contact and emplacing an anti-personnel mine. Before starting the evaluation, they had to navigate several of the obstacles on the Fort Pickett Air Assault Obstacle Course.

“We trained on these skills throughout annual training, and this builds to an evaluation of skills, not just as individuals, but as a team,” said Maj. Chris Doss, commander of the 116th STB. “These are all skills that each Soldier is expected to be proficient in.”

Soldiers from across the battalion, including the headquarters company, signal company and engineer company, took part in the event.

 

Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team react to enemy contact at one of the stations of the "Warrior Stakes" training event Sept. 20 during the unit's two-week annual training period.

Click HERE to see more photos on Flickr.

Doss said the battalion had three goals for the annual training period: improve tactical proficiency, improve individual Soldiers skills and improve their readiness to perform state missions for Defense Support to Civil Authorities operations.

“We have been able to do all three,” he said.

The battalion conducted consolidated training due in part to the number of Soldiers mobilized or attending schools. Out of the approximately 450 Soldiers assigned to the battalion, about 135 were present for annual training, Doss said. The battalion’s engineer company is currently deployed with Task Force 183 in Iraq, the unmanned aerial vehicle platoon from the military intelligence company is deployed with the 116th Brigade Combat Team Headquarters in Afghanistan, and many Soldiers from the battalion were reassigned to positions in the 116th BCT HQs staff as well.

Doss said that the nature of the battalion’s mission to support the rest of the brigade often makes it difficult to focus on individual Soldier skills, so this annual training period has been a great opportunity to focus on the basics.

“The feedback from Soldiers has been great,” Doss said. “ They have enjoyed getting back to their roots of being Soldiers and focus on being able to shoot, move and communicate on the battlefield.”

A total of 75 Soldiers qualified on the personal weapons, 24 earned the Combat Lifesaver certification, 10 were licensed on chain saw operations and the battalion doubled the number of licensed drivers on Humvees and medium trucks.

“We came in to AT with realistic expectations and ambitious goals, and we wanted to leave here a better battalion,” Doss said. “We are doing that.”

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