Broncos finish successful year as they had begun it

| December 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

150303-A-CJ175-050

Sgt. Brian C. Erickson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — With the sound of bullets in the air, boots and uniforms caked with mud, Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, “Wolfhounds,” 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, began the year with a live-fire exercise on KR5 range in January.

The following week, the Soldiers from 325th Bde. Support Bn., “Mustangs,” took to Wheeler Gulch for a multi-day training to perfect their tactical convoy operations.

The smell of diesel engines and dining on Meals Ready to Eat were everyday occurrences as the 29th Bde. Eng. Bn., “Wayfinders,” closed out the month of January with a battalion field training exercise.

Lt. Col. Michael Binetti, Wayfinder commander, said this exercise marked the first time in a while that the whole battalion was able to deploy every section to the field in some fashion.

Cacti Soldiers of the 2-35th Inf. Regt. provide cover fire as their comrades make their way past a crossing into a village occupied by opposing forces during air assault training, Dec. 2.

Cacti Soldiers of the 2-35th Inf. Regt. provide cover fire as their comrades make their way past a crossing into a village occupied by opposing forces during air assault training, Dec. 2.

February started with the commanders and staff of 3rd BCT, “Broncos,” traveling to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, La., to conduct leaders’ training before the brigade’s upcoming rotation to the JRTC.

The battalion command teams, staff officers and the brigade command team, spent eight days at the JRTC Leaders Training Program (LTP) to fine-tune their warfighting.

“LTP was a tremendous training opportunity that greatly improved our battalions and BCT mission command capability, particularly focused on the (Military Decision Making Process),” said Col. Scott Kelly, commander, 3rd BCT. “The opportunity to focus the staff for such an event under the tutelage of seasoned coaches was invaluable, and we are a more ready brigade for the experience.

As 3rd BCT continued to prepare for its upcoming training rotation in Louisiana, Soldiers from all six battalions spent the better part of two weeks deployed, in one manner or another, to training areas on Oahu and at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii during Exercise Lightning Forge.

“This exercise allowed us to show everything that the Soldiers are capable of doing,” said Lt. Col. Daniel K. Mark, commander, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd BCT.

In between field exercises, troopers from 3-4th Cav. Regt., put their shooting skills to test at a rifle marksmanship competition at Bellows Air Force Station.

Pfc. Christian Portinga, cavalry scout, Apache Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt., dominated the competition by finishing with a score of 463 points, earning him first place, while Sgt. Justin Blake, unit armorer, Apache Troop, also finished with 424 points, placing 8th overall.

Soldiers of Apache Troop demonstrated their skills to the Air Force while troopers from Comanche Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt., assisted the limited staff of Fort DeRussy in their efforts to beautify the grounds by renovating some of the larger exhibits and conducting maintenance on static displays.

 

The effort by Troop C is just part of a wider commitment that Broncos across the brigade make to better serve and integrate with the local community.

To close out March and bring in April, the Broncos hosted the Expert Infantryman Badge competition, with a starting field of more than 600 Infantry Soldiers willing to shed blood, sweat and tears for a chance to earn the EIB.

Fresh off their volunteering, the Soldiers of Troop C., 3-4th Cav. Regt., conducted helo-cast training off the coast of Bellows Air Force Training Area to recertify their castmasters and to certify as many members of the troop in the infiltration method.

Comanche Troop’s is the only light reconnaissance troop in the division.

“This capability is unique to Troop C, and I am confident that our troopers are ready to respond whenever they are called upon,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Mark, commander, 3-4th Cav. Regt.

Sexual assault prevention is an important topic across the ranks. Sexual assault can reduce the strength of an entire unit, so the Bronco command team held a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program organizational day.

As a leader, Kelly said he takes sexual assault very seriously and that it’s completely contrary to being professional Soldiers. Events like this help to eradicate sexual assault and harassment from the ranks, he added.

The organizational day was the last thing on the brigade’s schedule before it departed for approximately a month to train in Louisiana.

More than 2,900 Broncos endured a 16-day training schedule, with four days at the intermediate staging base, followed by 10 days of grueling decisive action training described as being “in the box” during their time at JRTC. The commander said that the training was designed to help the Broncos improve in their military occupation specialties as well as their self-awareness.

Pfc. Anthony Mercado, 3-7th FA, tosses a spent howitzer shell casing at JRTC.

Pfc. Anthony Mercado, 3-7th FA, tosses a spent howitzer shell casing at JRTC.

JRTC is the doctorate level of warfighting that is a challenge more than anything home-station training can provide.

Brigade Chaplain (Maj.) Scott Kennaugh said it best in one of his services during the exercise: “JRTC is designed to be your hardest days in the military.”

Kennaugh added that it is designed that way, so when Soldiers get deployed, they know what they have to do.

After the brigade made its way back to Schofield, it began resetting equipment immediately as Soldiers were gearing up to leave for the brigade’s Pacific Pathways deployment, a 90-day rotation through three different countries – Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia – for three regularly scheduled bilateral exercises sponsored by U.S. Army-Pacific and hosted by the partner nations to promote regional security and cooperation.

The first exercise of the deployment was Exercise Hamel 15 in Australia. During Hamel, Soldiers from Company C, 2-27th Inf. Regt., worked alongside their counterparts of the Australian army 7th Brigade, completing multiple training objectives.

Hamel is part of a larger biennial training exercise Talisman Saber 15, which is designed to give the Australian and U.S. forces the opportunity to train together and build interoperability

Capt. Eric Donahue, commander, Co. C, said the mission behind the exercise was to enable the 7th Brigade and make it successful, and for the Broncos to collaborate with the 7th Bde. to sustain its operational readiness and further hone its combat skills.

Soldiers assigned to 3-7th Field Artillery Regt, trained for two weeks with soldiers of the 109th Battery, 4th Regt., Royal Australian Artillery, at Lavarack Barracks, Townsville, after two weeks of training.

Once the training in Australia wrapped up, the Soldiers of 3rd BCT headed to the next destination of their pathways deployment, Indonesia.

The Broncos trained alongside the soldiers of Tentara Nasional Indonesia army during Garuda Shield. Both militaries conducted different events, such as peace support operations, a command post exercise and a combined arms live-fire exercise on the last day.

Upon the completion of Garuda Shield, the Soldiers embarked on the final stop on their three-month deployment, Malaysia.

While the “Wolfhounds” were wrapping things up in Indonesia, the “Mustangs” of the 325th BSB began September with a visit from Brig. Gen. Patrick Matlock, deputy commanding general-Support, 25th ID.

As things moved along smoothly on Schofield Barracks, the Bronco staff and Soldiers of 2-27th Inf. Regt., began exercise Keris Strike 15 with the soldiers of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) in Ipoh, Malaysia. Combined staff from the U.S. and the MAF participated in academic instruction and moderated staff planning during a command post exercise.

North of the command post exercise, 2-27th Inf. Regt. conducted a five-day field training exercise with the MAF that consisted of academics, practical applications and assessment, followed by a three-day training exercise in the jungle environment to accomplish the joint training objectives.

To close out October, the command teams of 3rd BCT conducted a Mission Command Conference designed to get the commands together to review what the brigade accomplished over the past year and determine how to make their units better.

In November, the 325th BSB command team named its conference room after Staff Sgt. Randy S. Agno, a native of Pearl City, Hawaii.

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Stoddard, 325th BSB senior enlisted adviser, said the effort to make the memorial room possible was a long time coming, but he wanted to ensure that it was tied to the Agno family.

Soldiers from 3-4th Cav. Regt., found themselves at Kahuku Training Area to integrate pathfinder operations into their training regimen during a battalion exercise.

Also during November, Soldiers of Charlie Battery, 3-7th Field Artillery Regt., certified on M777 howitzers for the first time in the effort to be fully mission capable, as the brigade assumes responsibility of a contingency response mission.

As the Bronco Brigade closed out the year, Soldiers took part in a weeklong exercise at Area X-ray as part of Yama Sakura 69, to ensure the unit is ready at a moment’s notice during the brigade’s contingency response force mission over the next year.

“The Soldiers of this brigade have significantly improved our collective ability to fight and win anywhere in the world over the previous 12 months,” Kelly said. “The success of this unit is reflective of the hard work and professional dedication of these Soldiers.”

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Category: News, Year in Review

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