Golden Dragons certify platoons for warfighter skills

| November 2, 2013 | 0 Comments
Soldiers with 1-14th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, establish a support-by-fire position in preparation for their ambush lane during Operation Dragon Foothold, Oct. 15-25. The 10-day field training exercise was designed to train and certify platoons in ambush, raid and non-combatant evacuation operations and improve the regiment’s  war-fighting capabilities. (Photo by Spc. Antonio Huerta, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Soldiers with 1-14th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, establish a support-by-fire position in preparation for their ambush lane during Operation Dragon Foothold, Oct. 15-25. The 10-day field training exercise was designed to train and certify platoons in ambush, raid and non-combatant evacuation operations and improve the regiment’s war-fighting capabilities. (Photo by Spc. Antonio Huerta, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

1st Lt. Timothy McCracken
1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team
25th Inf. Division

KAHUKU TRAINING AREA — Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, conducted Operation Dragon Foothold, here, Oct. 15-25.

More than 447 Golden Dragons took part in the 10-day field training exercise, which was designed to train and certify platoons in ambush, raid, non-combatant evacuation operations, and to improve 1-14th Inf. Regt. war-fighting capabilities.

“It was something new for us,” said Sgt. Scott Simpson, Company B, 1-14th Inf. Regt. “These were new challenges, because we had been working based on teams, battle-buddy teams and squads, and I think we had really driven those home.

“One of the things we knew we were going to have issues with and confirmed once we got out there was having the squad leaders being led by a platoon leader, instead of us just bounding our own teams,” Simpson added. “We had to wait for the go-ahead from our platoon leader.”

Platoons used a laser-sensor system to create realistic combat training scenarios, and simulated battlefield casualties provided the Golden Dragons an opportunity to practice buddy aid and warrior first-responder skills.

For Pvt. Ryan Dean, Co. B, 1-14th Inf. Regt., one of the greatest challenges of the exercise was navigating through the difficult terrain of the Kahukus to reach the objective.

“In between each mission, we had movements of 1-2 kilometers up and down hills,” Dean said. “It’s a very humbling experience, because you’re going up a 60-degree-incline hill with gravel, and you’re trying your best to keep that 60-pound ruck sack on your back from pulling you back down that hill.

“I was really excited, because this was my very first field problem,” Dean added. “You train as you fight, and you fight to win. The training was really intense; I couldn’t be happier, because I didn’t sign up for it to be easy.”

After each lane, platoons were given the chance to receive valuable feedback in the form of after-action reviews on how they could have approached the mission and achieved different results.

“Once we had a chance to look back and go through some of the comments that the evaluators had talked to us about, we realized some of the deficiencies that we could work on,” Simpson said.

“While we were there, our platoon definitely bonded going through that together,” Simpson added. “It gave us a good base to know where to go from, so the next time we do platoon-level training, we’ll just be that much further in the game.”

The 1-14 Inf. continues to challenge its Soldiers to become a more cohesive and adaptive unit through training events like Operation Dragon Foothold in order to provide a solid foundation upon which 1-14 Inf. can build and help prepare the battalion for future operations.

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Category: News, Training

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