2016 ACTIVE UNIT NEWS

30th April 2016
30th April 2016

5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry
Operation Atlantic Resolve

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team is once again calling Europe home as more than 3,000 troops rotated to the region.

It marks the third time in a little more than a year that the Fort Stewart, Ga.-based unit has returned to the Continent as part of its duties as U.S. European Command’s regionally allocated force.

The brigade will once again take on the bulk of the land force responsibility for Operation Atlantic Resolve, the American-led effort to reassure eastern allies since Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

“We’ve been here before but now we’re taking the relationships that we built over these last rotations and the lessons learned and we’re continuing to build off them,” said Maj. Randy Ready, brigade spokesman.

During its six-month rotation, the 1st ABCT will conduct a number of operations across 11 countries, including taking part in Anakonda 16, a show-of-force exercise in Poland that will place 25,000 soldiers from 24 nations right on Russia’s doorstep.

Before that though, reconnaissance elements from the brigade will move to Hohenfels to begin the smaller-scaled Combined Resolve exercise, where it will begin laying the groundwork for the larger missions down the road.

“We’ll be mixing and matching essentially our reconnaissance units with other NATO forces and trying to work together,” said Capt. Derrick Jerke, commander of Troop C, 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment.

Jerke and his fellow Bradley infantry fighting vehicle-mounted troops have spent the past week getting ready for the exercises. A large part of that preparation took place at the gunnery ranges at the Grafenwoehr training area.

“It’s designed to test the mettle of the platoon and to challenge the platoon leader,” Jerke said of the ranges. “Overall, this is the certification process for those platoons to go in to a future operation we’re conducting at Hohenfels.”

While Jerke said he’s been a part of every one of the brigade’s regionally aligned force deployments to Europe, this is the first time he’s been among the soldiers, leading them in the field. The recent gunnery and upcoming major exercises such as Anakonda 16, have already begun to make their mark on the brigade’s rank-and-file, many of whom have never deployed before.

“A lot of the training exercises that we’re doing, most U.S. forces will never get the same experiences,” Jerke said. “The significance of that definitely resonates with the soldiers.”

By:Online News



15th March 2016

2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry

FORT HOOD, Texas - When Soldiers on the frontlines are in the midst of an operation, the last thing they need to be uncertain about is whether their protective equipment will hamper their combat effectiveness.
Before new equipment gets to the frontlines, it is put to the test by Soldiers.

Company B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment "Garryowen," 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division partnered with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command to put the Soldier Protection System through its paces here March 10.

When the Army is looking to improve or purchase a piece of gear, it turns to the Army Test and Evaluation Command for a detailed analysis.

Within the organization is the OTC, which performs tests while its partner unit, Army Evaluation Command, collects and analyzes data from the tests and sends it to the Program Executive Office for a decision based on the results.

After the SPS passed the engineer’s test in the labs, OTC had to partner with a unit most qualified to test the gear. OTC funded the unit’s training while the Soldiers wore the body armor and provided candid feedback.

"We are testing new equipment," said Lt. Col. Anthony Gianopulos, senior test officer, maneuver test directorate, OTC. "And if your unit gets tasked, we are helping you augment your training to get more proficient in your battle tasks, while simultaneously you are getting an opportunity to give us direct feedback on a piece of equipment that the Army is considering putting in the inventory."

And the unit jumped at the chance to play a role in the process of fielding new equipment, said Lt. Col. Andrew Watson, commander, 2-7 Cav.

"It’s a great win for the battalion and the brigade, but more importantly [for] our Soldiers," said Watson. "They know that this equipment can go out to their brothers and sisters in uniform, and this is their opportunity to have that voice and tell the Army what works and what doesn’t."

For the tests, OTC wanted the Soldiers to perform the very same training they always do in order to produce accurate data on how the system performs through realistic combat training.

The process began for Garryowen in February, when they were trained on how to properly wear the prototype. Then, they loaded into their tactical vehicles and headed to the field.

Through day and night, rain and shine, the Soldiers trained and tested the durability of the gear, and how it affected their mobility.

"Today was the final situational training exercise of what has been a six-week SPS testing," said Capt. James Flannery, commander, Company B.

At an urban training facility here, Flannery had his unit attack a mock city, find a high value target, and eliminate the enemy. The squads went from room to room, clearing and eliminating enemy combatants while simultaneously performing basic Soldier tasks.

"You don’t know if a piece of equipment is truly effective unless you’re maneuvering under stress or fire, getting down in the prone, conducting individual movement techniques, and firing weapons," said Flannery. "The only way to get a real, realistic test on any piece of equipment that we would use in the Army, is to try to simulate combat situations as closely as possible to what it’ll be in real life."

They maneuvered through the rooms, alleyways and streets as smoke and concussion grenades deployed in close vicinity, while simultaneously firing simulation rounds from their M4 carbines.

Soldiers participating in the testing had a unique opportunity to contribute to the Army’s acquisition process and have their voices heard, while also training on their tactical skill sets, said Staff Sgt. Cesar Serrano, platoon sergeant, Company B., and a Compton, California, native.

"The Soldiers have gotten a lot of great training out of this," said Serrano. "It helps them sharpen their skills for our upcoming events, such as team and squad live-fire exercises. It gave us the time to dedicate to our Soldiers and our training, so we can develop our procedures."

When the unit finished each training exercise, Soldiers were asked for their honest opinions regarding performing with the armor.

"This is definitely equipment that we will be using in the future, if it gets approved," said Serrano. "So… if we don’t give accurate information, we [will] probably have Soldiers in the future wearing armor that doesn’t benefit them and doesn’t provide the ability to do their jobs. So, we have to give 100 percent when we are doing this."

By:Online News




21st February 2016

5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Security Force Assistance Teams
(SFAT) in Afghanistan 2013


SFAT Team 39. Between 2012 - 2013 the 1st ABCT from 3rd Infantry Division was deployed to Zabul Province Afghanistan as an Advise and Assist Brigade. The Brigade was broken up into several different components to support operations throughout RC South. 5-7 Cav was tasked with Security Forces Advisory Teams, attached to the 2nd Brigade 205th Corps Afghan National Army.
In order to meet the requirements, Officers and Senior NCO's were pulled from throughout the Brigade and assigned to the Warpaint Squadron. The team was comprised of officers from Varying specialty skill sets in order to best provide advice and assistance to the Afghan Brigade leadership.

The SFAT team members are military members from various units who are formed up for this specific mission. An SFAT will have eight to eighteen members depending on echelon and type of unit they will be advising.

( Task Force Team Roster )

SFATs will work with conventional coalition units that are "partnered" with Afghan counterpart units to improve their logistics, intelligence, maintenance, administration, rule of law, and training capabilities.

By:CPT Scott Kincaid 5-7 2013



30th January 2016

2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry

FORT HOOD, Texas – Soldiers from Company C “Comanche,” 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, participated in a joint forcible entry exercise alongside Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division Feb. 11, 2016.

The exercise was designed to support the Global Response Force, a joint services task force tasked to rapidly deploy at a moment’s notice.

“We are an armored and mechanized package designed to support the Global Response Force if it's determined they need that type of support,” said Capt. Robert Greene, the Comanche company commander. “We are the heavy firepower and the heavy mobility.”

Everything kicked off when about 800 paratroopers jumped into the Fort Hood training area over Drop Zone Antelope, landed, formed a perimeter and set up their tactical operations center.

Next, the paratroopers secured a nearby landing strip to allow their support to arrive by aircraft. Playing the role of support unit, Company C brought its combat vehicles with it.

Greene’s M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles were carried to the landing strip on a fleet of Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, which simulated vehicles being flown into the battlefield.

“We simulated an air landing after the 82nd jumped in and secured the airfield,” Greene said. “We attacked and seized two towns for their specialist chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives forces to seize a weapons of mass destruction site.”

Comanche Company hit the ground running and provided additional security and firepower. The paratrooper’s mission was to travel miles of open land, cross a river and pass through multiple mock cities to get to a suspected WMD site.

The Soldiers used their tanks and fighting vehicles to create a safe passage, something they have been training for since being assigned to the GRF June 2015.

Just recently, the organizations completed a monthlong rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center where they executed similar missions together.

“Coming here to Fort Hood is different,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Beau Barnett, command sergeant major of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. “It allows us to practice setting up our training objectives. So now we are at Fort Hood training with them, so different commanders can get to work with those Soldiers and learn how to be prepared in case we have to go to war.”

With the partnership between the airborne and cavalry units growing each time they are able to train together, Green said he feels confident the GRF will be ready for anything.

“The more we train with the 82nd, the more prepared we are to fight with the 82nd,” said Greene, “which is what the country needs us to do. More repetitions help us develop shared systems and fully understand each other’s capabilities and limitations.”

By:SGT Brandon Banzhaf



30th January 2016

2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry

FORT HOOD, Texas — After a soft landing, the back door of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter lowers, unleashing a wave of Soldiers on the outskirts of a city. With their objective in front of them, they sprint to the closest building for cover. Seconds later, shots are fired.

“Contact, contact!”

Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division performed a military operations on urban terrain exercise in a simulated town here Jan. 27.

“Training like this is extremely important,” said 1st Lt. Charles Lord, a Baltimore native and platoon leader with Company B, 2-7 Cav. “Without this type of training, I don’t think we will be as prepared to deploy overseas. This allows us to refine our standard operating procedures and implement new ones as we see fit.”

The company leadership knew that in order to establish basic infantry fundamentals, the training needed to progress incrementally, starting at the team level and moving all the way up to a full-on platoon operation that could seize the town from enemy control.

“We started out with individual techniques and tactics and moved up to a team, a three- to five-man element,” said Lord. “The second week, we did squads, a nine to 10-man element, to platoon maneuvers, which is three squads. This is the culminating exercise, the platoon hitting the town by itself.”

The exercise started with Soldiers being flown into the area on two aircraft. In addition to the expected excitement of the training, many of the Soldiers had never rode in a helicopter before, so that element only added to the nervousness.

“The adrenaline is really high at that point,” said Spc. Jordan Schulze, a Las Vegas native and squad leader with 2-7 Cav. “We are coming in, and we don’t know what’s going on.”

Three squads, each consisting of about 10 Soldiers, put the knowledge they learned from the last three weeks of training into use by going from building to building, eliminating the opposing forces as they encountered them.

“This is really valuable because these are the types of buildings you see overseas,” said Lord. “The unpredictable aspect of this just helps us be prepared.”

For the platoon to be successful, many things have to be done right, but one of the most important elements is communication.

“The squad leaders were pushing me the information as fast as I could handle it,” said Lord. “Then I was able to push it up to my company commander to let him make decisions.”

Due to the ever-changing nature of war, Lord had to ensure his squads were in the right areas at the right time; a matter of only a few minutes could make the difference between neutralizing the enemy and receiving casualties.

“I think it actually went really well, because it was basically flawless up until we encountered the large building with a large enemy force, but we handled that appropriately,” said Schulze. “My thoughts were where were the other two squads in relation to mine; what are my teams doing; and where we are clearing.”

To add to the realism, Soldiers used simulated rounds, a nonlethal training ammunition. When a Soldier was hit, the team would begin patching their simulated wounds and evacuating them.

“They didn’t let the enemy’s numbers or resistance slow them down any,” said Lord. “It’s like any other team, if you don’t practice, you’re not going to do well when it’s game time.”

By:SGT Brandon Banzhaf