Tropic Lightning strikes ‘Cobra Gold’ in Thailand

| February 21, 2014 | 0 Comments
Soldiers assault an objective using night vision laser targeting systems as part of a platoon night live-fire exercise at Ban Dan Lan Hoi, Kingdom of Thailand Feb. 12 during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise, which takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries. The Soldiers are with 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel K. Johnson/released)

Soldiers assault an objective using night vision laser targeting systems as part of a platoon night live-fire exercise at Ban Dan Lan Hoi, Kingdom of Thailand, Feb. 12, during exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Cobra

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

BAN DAN LAN HOI, Thailand — Soldiers conducted platoon live-fire certifications as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2014 during the month of February in the Ban Dan Lan Hoi training area, here.

The Soldiers are with 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

With an upcoming rotation to the National Training Center, this summer, ensuring they’re prepared to work in large platoon live-fire missions is essential.

“Alpha Company, 3rd Platoon, was the first platoon to be platoon live-fire certified in a year,” said Capt. James Devlin, Co. A commander. “It was a pretty daunting feat for some, but it is quite the accomplishment for Alpha Company to lead the way and set the standard for the battalion.”

“Our goal was to demonstrate lethal and capable platoons,” said Maj. Ryan Finley, executive officer, 1-21st Inf. Regt. “Their performance is a reflection of the character and quality of leaders and Soldiers that we have.”

The training was long and difficult. The new environment presented additional challenges for the Soldiers, as Thailand’s tropical climate is very different from what they have trained in before.

Soldiers post security as 81mm mortars impact the objective area in Ban Dan Lan Hoi, Kingdom of Thailand Feb. 10 during a platoon live-fire as part of  Cobra Gold 2014.

Soldiers post security as 81mm mortars impact the objective area in Ban Dan Lan Hoi, Kingdom of Thailand Feb. 10 during a platoon live-fire as part of Cobra Gold 2014.

“On a platoon live-fire day, the Soldiers would start around 8 a.m. and have about an hour-and-a-half on the range doing a blank-fire run,” said Devlin. “They would continue to do rehearsals and refinements until the first live-fire iteration at 3 p.m. for day certification. The night blank fire would kick-off at about 8 p.m. and turn directly into night live fire, and end about 11 p.m. or midnight.”

The most exciting part of the training, so far, was the platoon night fire, said Pvt. Jesse Merrill, infantryman, 1-21st Inf. Regt. “It was a little scary at times because visibility is limited, but I’m really confident now because we’ve been rehearsing and practicing, and practice makes perfect,” said Merrill.

“Heat could have been a big issue training in Thailand, but the noncommissioned officers did a great job of managing their work and rest times,” said Devlin. “They also monitored the Soldiers to make sure they were drinking their electrolytes, eating all of their meals and drinking lots of water.”

Leadership from across the division was impressed with the performance the Soldiers gave on the battlefield.

“We came here looking to do our job and train to standards,” said 1st Lt. Steven Poland, a platoon leader with the battalion. “I think we accomplished that, and I’m very proud of the work the Soldiers put in during such a short amount of time.”

“I think the guys who came out here knew what the training objectives were; they knew what level they were currently at and where they wanted to go,” said Devlin. “They took the feedback from the after-action reviews and were able to show why Soldiers of Alpha Company are probably the best in the battalion.”

“I’m really impressed with your discipline,” said Brig. Gen. Todd McCaffery, deputy commander, 25th ID. “I’m impressed with the noncommissioned officer leadership that’s out here.

“I want to thank you all for the leadership and what you’ve been doing to represent the U.S. well, certainly representing this battalion and this great brigade and this division very, very well,” he added. “My hat is off to you. Keep it up.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Deployed Forces, News, Training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *