For the Bryan County News
FORT STEWART - Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, received the unique opportunity of practicing 'lift operations' with the UH-60 Black Hawk during shotgun breach training at a shoot-house, Jan.
19 on Fort Stewart.
All Soldiers from the squadron that could possibly be assigned a shotgun during combat operations took part in the training.
For many of the Soldiers within 3/7 Cav., this was the first time they have received this type of training, as well as the first time experiencing lift operations with a Black Hawk.
"We knew that the drive to the shoot-house was a long one and with troops running several different ranges that day, the use of external assets made sense. Additionally, we wanted to make use of the opportunity to begin to familiarize all of our troopers with lift operations of the Black Hawk," said Lt. Col. William Lindner, commander, 3/7 Cav.
Lindner said having the training and experience with the proper methods of on and offloading procedures is absolutely critical.
While the task is not difficult, there is little room for error when dealing with a turning rotor blade. This is why it is so important to train this at home station as often as possible, said Lindner.
"In Afghanistan, nothing happens without helicopters because of the distances," Lidner said. "In Iraq, the more we pull out of the cities, the greater the importance becomes. As such, we absolutely must develop a proficiency in integrating them into everything that we do."
The shotgun breaching training itself was the final part of shotgun marksmanship training. The act of breaching a door with a shotgun was the practical application of the Soldiers training, said Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Parson, 3/7 Cav., 2nd BCT.
The simulated breaching range allows Soldiers to experience breaching buildings and rooms as a team with the use of shotguns to open, locked or barricaded doors, Parson said.
As with many units experiencing redeployment, 3/7 Cav. has had to train new Soldiers to fill the roles of those who have had a permanent change of station or have left the Army, said Parson.
"Generally, breach training is not a task that would be executed by cavalry troopers," Lidner said, "However, we frequently find ourselves these days acting as a land owner and conducting the same missions as our infantry brothers, so conducting a shotgun breach is part of preparing for those types of eventualities."
Lindner said the training would not have been possible without the help of Fort Stewart range control.
Parson said for many of the young Soldiers participating in the training that have yet to deploy, the exciting experience of knocking down doors and jumping out of Black Hawks is why they joined the Army in the first place.