Cavalry Troops Conduct Urban Training
By Staff Sgt. Ryan Campbell, 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment
/ Published February 23, 2016
YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. -- Infantrymen from C Troop, 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment, New York Army National Guard, conducted air assault training at the National Guard training site in Youngstown, New York, Feb. 21, 2016.
For the Soldiers of C Troop this is one of the many exercises they are conducting in preparation for pre-deployment training that will be held throughout the year. The Soldiers will ultimately deploy to the Joint Readiness Training Center, Ft. Polk, Louisiana, to stay current in their deployment cycle.
The Soldiers conducted air assault training out of an Army CH-47 Chinook, said 1LT. Ian Merritt, executive officer of C Troop. They simulated being inserted into a combat situation and then breaking contact and being extracted by the Chinook, said Merritt.
"We request the aircraft we get as much as we can, about a half a dozen times a year," said Merritt. "We have a lot of Soldiers that are new and haven't ever ridden on a helicopter."
It is important for the unit to get their Soldiers engaged in this type of training as often as possible, as being in the National Guard and drilling only once a month can sometimes give them gaps in how often they can get out into the field.
With new personnel in C Troop, it helps to get everyone to Youngstown to get them into a tactical mindset, said Merritt. The training isn't necessarily difficult, but it is a good way ease back into the tactical events and get everyone motivated and get on track for JRTC, said Merritt.
The weekend is one part of an overall training plan that will enable C Troop to maintain their readiness, and be deployable as a unit.
"As we're moving to JRTC and heading towards a ready year for mobilization, it's important to have this sort of training," said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Hare, training NCO for C Troop, who ensured the unit reserved the helicopter and secured materials needed to conduct this training.
"It adds a real world aspect to it so that when it happens in the future, they're ready for it," said Hare.
For the younger soldiers of the unit, this event gives them an opportunity to develop their skills as a team. They train till the list of tasks they need to be able to accomplish becomes second nature to them as riflemen.
"We have a lot of new guys in the unit, so it's good for unit cohesion to start working with them," said Spc. Erik O'Grady, a rifleman assigned to C Troop. "Going into the bird, out of the bird, forming proper security once we leave the bird and proper posture while we're waiting for it to come in."
With training at JRTC coming up, C Troop is going through the extensive training at home to ensure they are experts at their skills and tasks in order to succeed at whatever comes at them.
"With this level of training, when we get to JRTC in a few months we're going to be expected to know how to do these things," said O'Grady. "It's good to get the practice in now, especially with the younger guys to know what we're doing when we get there."
Though he has been with the unit for more than five years, O'Grady said he always takes away something new each time they do this type of training. They will improve on how they do certain things, and each time build on what they did the previous exercise, said O'Grady.
Soon the Soldiers will eventually see them put together all of the training they have done into larger scale exercises in the future.
"This type of training is designed as stepping stones moving on to more realistic training," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Tippett, admin and readiness NCO for C Troop and 1st platoon sergeant. "We're trying to get the Soldiers' into a mindset of actually going into battle."
Next year will be a ready year for C Troop to be deployable, said Tippett. Though they are currently not scheduled for an overseas deployment, anything can happen and they need to be as mentally and physically ready as they can be for whatever New York and United States might ask of them, said Tippett.