‘Golden Dragons’ get back to the basics at PTA

| June 22, 2012 | 0 Comments
Soldiers with the 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., “Golden Dragons,” 2nd BCT, 25th ID, provide suppressive fire on a target during a training exercise at PTA, June 6.

Soldiers with the 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., “Golden Dragons,” 2nd BCT, 25th ID, provide suppressive fire on a target during a training exercise at PTA, June 6.

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Daniel Johnson
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, “Golden Dragons,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, deployed for a monthlong exercise to conduct battalion training and live fire, here, May 10.

Training consisted of squad- and platoon-level live-fire exercises, as well as basic and advanced marksmanship proficiency.

The deployment of the battalion from Schofield Barracks on Oahu to another island also allowed it to validate logistics plans and deployment capabilities in preparation for future deployments.

“My job is to train our battalion and make sure we’re ready to deploy into any circumstance our command group would need us to,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Larsen, commander, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt. “Whether this means humanitarian missions in the Pacific or combat missions overseas, we’re ready for it.”

“We train the fundamentals. If we can do the basics better than anyone, we will fight better than anyone,” said Capt. John Staeheli, commander, Company A, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt. “The fundamentals are what will save our Soldiers’ lives in an overseas environment.”

The focus of the battalion’s training in the earlier part of this year was fundamentals at the individual Soldier and fire team level. The deployment to PTA has allowed the battalion to expand that training.

“Starting in January 2012, we emphasized basic marksmanship programs and progressed into advanced marksmanship programs that led to team live-fire exercises on Oahu,” Larsen said. “We decided to focus on squad and platoon live-fire exercises while at PTA.” Live-fire exercises, such as this, help build confidence in leaders by allowing them to take direct control on the battlefield and employ assets at the battalion level to complete the mission.

“The training incorporates our fundamentals training while having a platoon leader maneuver squads against an enemy force,” Staeheli said. “This allows our platoon leaders to understand what assets they have available to them, such as battalion mortar and engineer capabilities.”

The deployment to the Big Island had added benefits. Not only was the battalion able to work on perfecting its warfighting abilities, it was also able to improve its ability to deploy on short notice.

“This type of training is absolutely critical; it tests your systems,” said Staeheli. “We’ve learned how to phase our logistics into our plan, allowing us to move directly into the mission when we hit the ground.”

“We were able to verify and validate battalion standing operating procedures, or SOPs, for movement and deployment,” Larsen said. “Specifically, I’ve been able to identify where we need to employ command post emphasis.”

The mission at PTA has been a success in the commander’s eyes.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I am as a commander to see the way they’ve tackled all of challenges that have come at them,” Larsen said. “They’ve accomplished more in the training than I had envisioned, which is tremendous for a commander to feel.”

“When we leave PTA, we won’t see this as the end; this is the beginning,” Staeheli said. “We will take what we’ve done here, and we’re going to continue to get better with platoon live-fires and our fundamentals.”

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Category: News, Training, U.S. Army Garrison-Pohakuloa (USAG-Pohakuloa)

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