Sept. 8 , 2010

Cavalry Soldiers hone their skills on Army Warrior Tasks during annual training  

By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen        
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Troops from the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team conducted their three-week annual training at Fort Pickett Aug. 8-28 where the Soldiers focused on honing and crafting their individual Army Warrior Tasks, commonly referred to as AWTs.

 

Soldiers of the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment qualify on the M-4 carbine and .50 Caliber sniper rifle Aug. 18 during annual training at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.


The Soldiers spent many long days and nights in the field practicing everything from basic individual marksmanship to locating and identifying improvised explosive devices during the training. The Soldiers got muddy in the rain and they sweat in the sun while focusing on perfecting their core warrior tasks and training.

“The focus has really been on the AWTs this year,” said Maj. Thomas Garner, operations officer for the squadron. “We tried to group the tasks in to a lanes format so there is a scenario that provides a better training value for the Soldier.”

 

Soldiers of Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team attached to the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th BCT to practice throwing hand grenades and reacting to contact Aug. 18 at Fort Pickett during annual training. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.


Lanes were set up for to train on mounted operations, IED detection, vehicle search checkpoint and moving in urban operations, Garner explained. The unit also exstablished a dismounted lane which focused basic movement techniques such as high-crawl, low-crawl, moving around an object, reacting to fire as well as hand grenade practice.

The Soldiers of the 183rd also spent some of their annual training time in classrooms where they learned how to keep their battle buddies alive on the battlefield using advanced first-aid techniques during the Combat Lifesaver’s Course. The course is designed to teach individual Soldiers the skills needed to keep wounded or injured personnel alive long enough for them to be transported to a medical treatment facility.

“We will have every Soldier who comes through here certified as a combat lifesaver by the time they leave AT,” added Garner.

During the busy and action-packed three weeks, the Soldiers also had an opportunity to participate in virtual training Aug. 9-14 on the largest set up of Close Combat Tactical Trainers ever assembled in one place. The 18-trailer CCTT, a virtual reality simulator, was set up at Fort Pickett and provided realistic battlefield training on simulated Bradley Fighting Vehicle and M1A2 Abrams tank platforms.

“The squadron conducted a safe and productive annual training establishing a solid Army Warrior Task training foundation that will set the conditions for future collective training events,” said Lt. Col. William Korsen, squadron commander.  “We were able to leverage virtual training simulations such as Close Combat Tactical Trainer to enhance our training events by allowing leaders to run multiple iterations of tasks prior to executing them in a live situation.”

 

Soldiers from the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry navigate through a Spur Ride Aug. 26 at Fort Pickett that mixes cavalry traditions with Soldier skills and the Warrior Ethos in order to earn the right to wear cavalry spurs at special unit gatherings. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Va. Dept. of Military Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.


Soldiers from the squadron also conducted a spur ride which serves as a way for officers and NCOs to separate themselves from their peers and display an advanced knowledge and provicideny in key cavarly skills, said Garner.

The spur ride itself began early in the morning with physical training, followed by the several stations on the leader reaction course to test the decision-making ability of the candidates. After a session learning about cavalry heritage, an orientation to basic horsemanship and a combative tournament, the spur candidates then travelled late into the night to five different stations to test their skills in basic cavalry Soldier tasks like first aid, vehicle recovery, establishing an observation post and weapons disassembly and assembly.

A total of 27 officers and noncommissioned officers earned the spurs at the end of the event.

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