2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry
MCGREGOR BASE, NM - The unwavering temperatures of the New Mexico desert did not phase the Soldiers of the Ghost Battalion while they provided opposing force support to their National Guard partner, the 155th Brigade Combat Team during Multi Echelon Integrated Brigade Training, May 8.
For Company B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, this training gave the newer Soldiers an opportunity to gain perspective in an environment they possibly had never experienced before.
"We have a lot of newer guys that arenít accustomed to this training yet," said Sgt. Ryan Graham, squad leader, B Co., 2-7 CAV. "Itís nice getting out here and being on the defensive, it gives them a new perspective on things like where to set up in the defense, possible positions for enemy to approach and anticipation of an attack."
While this is only a training environment, it is to prepare the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, Mississippi National Guard, for their upcoming deployment to Kuwait, as they take over the mission the Greywolf Brigade just finished in November.
"Itís very important for 2-7 to participate in these types of scenarios because, on one hand, it does give the National Guard the ability to train against a unit that just deployed to a location they are about to deploy to," explained 1st Lt. William Beckham, platoon leader, Company C. "And on the other, it provides us more opportunity to sustain our combat readiness."
For the sake of the exercise, the three maneuver companies from 2-7 CAV are broken up into company teams of Bradley and tank platoons. This allows the different platoons to cooperatively train with one another in a configuration they would most likely see in a decisive action fight.
"What 2-7 gains out of this training are the repetitions of doing this tactical maneuver training over and over again so that way we can get the experience we need," Beckham said. "When we get evaluated later this year a lot of our new Soldiers will have had that experience maneuvering in an environment, and they will be ready for their own evaluation."
While 2-7 will continue to work with the 155th for the next few weeks, it allows Soldiers the opportunity to show resiliency in a fast paced environment.
"I am really proud of the guys for the way they have handled things," Beckham said. "There have been some tough days and long nights and I am proud of the way they have persevered through the days, I am really impressed with them."
The battalion has been supporting their Army Total Force Partners since April. The Army Total Force Partnership Program is an ongoing effort by the service to transition its component forces, both Army Reserve and National Guard, into an operational force. The intent is to create a seamless and holistic "total force" governed by the same interchangeable policies and procedures.
2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry
MCGREGOR TRAINING COMPLEX, NM - Medics assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team "Greywolf," 1st Cavalry Division completed mass casualty and trauma lane training with medical personnel assigned to C Co., 106th Support Battalion, 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team from the Mississippi National Guard, May 4, at McGregor Training Complex, New Mexico.
The two brigades are partnered together through the Armyís Total Force Partnership. The training was part of the Multi-Echelon Integrated Brigade Training that the 155th ABCT is currently undergoing to prepare for its upcoming deployment in support of Operation Spartan Shield. The troopers of 2-7 CAV have been providing training support to the 155th ABCT since early April.
"Training like this is important because it allows us to evaluate each otherís skills and to pass on knowledge that we both have," said 1st Lt. Elliott Boice, medical operations officer and medical platoon leader, HHC, 2-7 CAV. "We are an integrated Army, all three forces matter, Reserve, Guard and Active Duty."
For the two medical teams, training together is an important requirement in order to obtain certain skills or techniques the other may not have had before.
"Itís really important to work with the National Guard because there are certain skillsets that civilians have that we donít necessarily get exposed to, because our environment is very specific," said Cpt. Andrea Nixon, physician assistant, HHC, 2-7 CAV. "But on the other hand, we do live and breathe this environment on a day-to-day basis as Active Duty, and we can impart our knowledge to our counterparts for when they get activated."
Completing the training together allowed the teams to see how the other half accomplishes their mission.
"I think being in this training environment has been a great opportunity to refine [standard operating procedures], to refine our processes with our platoons," explained 1st Sgt. Joseph Tullos, C Co., 106th Support Battalion. "One of the biggest training pieces for that is, for us, and the other unit, to be able to know how the other works.
Sometimes when you combine outside units and the small ways that they change things and actually working together and participating in a training exercise like we did today is extremely helpful to be able to finalize those small things that may be different from unit to unit."
Although the teams serve on different Army components, a point of the training was to show that training is the same across the board with different refinements for different situations.
"It was like they never missed a beat," said 1st Lt. Nathan Smith, field medical assist and treatment platoon leader, C Co., 106th Support Battalion. "We are all trained in basically the same way, and we all have the same starting point through Basic and [advanced individual training]. So when they hit the ground today, they just filled into the slots they needed for the MASCAL and the Roll 2, and everything ran just as smooth as if it was our own people."
The Army Total Force Partnership Program is an ongoing effort by the service to transition both Army Reserve and National Guard into an operational force. The intent is to create a seamless and holistic "total force" governed by the same interchangeable policies and procedures.
2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry
FORT HOOD, TX - Troopers Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, "Ghost", 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division along with elements of 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion conducted rail operations here March 14 in preparation to support the Brigadeís Army Total Force Partners, the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Mississippi National Guard.
The battalion is responsible for acting as the Opposition Force to the 155th. They will be a part of a much larger training force that includes the 177th Armored Brigade from Camp Shelby, Miss. and elements of First Army Division West. During their time there they will conduct situational training exercises in conjunction with the 155th at platoon and company level. They will also provide OpFor to the battalion-level field training exercises. But they plan on maximizing their time within the Fort Bliss training area by conducting their own training as well.
"We are still working on our own maneuverability, we are still working on our lethality. Weíre not there just for their (155th ABCT) purpose, weíre there for our own too," said Sgt. First Class Aaron Keen, battalion Master Gunner. The Greywolf and Dixie Thunder Brigades have partnered for over three years as part of the Armyís Total Force Partnership. Not only has Greywolf provided them with training support, but the 155th ABCT has returned the favor. "We have had a fruitful partnership with the 155th," said Lt. Col. Will Wade, commander of 2-7 CAV. In January the brigade to include the battalion commanders were able to provide lessons learned from Greywolfís recent deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield. The 155th ABCT is training in preparation for their deployment to Kuwait to assume the same mission Greywolf completed in November.
According to Col. Jack Vantress, 177th Armored Brigade commander, "The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will be the first Army National Guard Armored Brigade Combat Team to train and deploy prepared for decisive action operations that include operating all along the continuum of conflict."
1st Squadron 7th Cavalry
KEMPNER, TX - More than 400 past and present troopers of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment "Garryowen," gathered Saturday night for a first-of-a-kind Past and Present Garryowen Reunion at the Kempner Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
The unit, which was established July 28, 1866, is part of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and is most well-known for its participation in the Battle of Little Big Horn under the command of Lt. Col. George A. Custer and for its victory against a vastly superior force during the Vietnam War at the IA Drang Valley under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore - a victory later portrayed in the Mel Gibson movie "We Were Soldiers."
The unitís history, stretching from the troopersí bravery during the Indian Wars through countless victories in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and into actions in Iraq during the War on Terror, prompted current and former members of the unit to bring everyone together to help foster the deep pride shared by the unitís alumni in the newest generation of "Garryowen" troopers.
"I love this. I think this is great," said Sgt. Janna M. Trevino, a combat medic with the squadronís Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. "Itís inspiring. A lot of us are new to a (cavalry) unit and have no idea how the cavalry is run. To see all of these veterans and see everyone get together is great - it makes us want to stay motivated and positive while we do our work."
Trevino, who sang the national anthem at the start of the ceremonies, said watching the interaction between young soldiers and the alumni troopers who served as far back as the Korean War was amazing.
"This is a very fast-paced unit. ... The camaraderie is different. This is the type of stuff we need," she said, adding that she would love to do something similar and more often in order to help foster a sense of pride for the unit within the newest troops who had never served with "Garryowen" before.
"The new privates who have just gotten here have got to experience this," Trevino said. "Being able to see people who have so much experience in the military. ... This is just so great."
Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, III Corps and Fort Hood commander and a former "Garryowen" commander, even sent a video to the troopers from the Middle East, where he currently command Operation Inherent Resolve - the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State.
"I am even more proud I can hold my head high and say that I am a Garryowen trooper, just like you," Funk said in the video. "All Garryowen troopers have one thing in common - tenacity, the single most important trait of a trooper. That fixed resolve not to quit when things get tough."
Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, a former command sergeant major for the squadron and the 14th sergeant major of the Army, also offered some words of encouragement for all the troopers at the event, both past and present.
"My time in 1/7 Cav for me was the most pivotal and most memorable part of my military career," he said. "A lot of people ask me, Ďdo you miss the Army?í Hell no, I do not. What I do miss is you. Itís that blood we shared over in Iraq and unfortunately the lives we lost and those who suffer from the visible wounds of war and those who suffer from invisible wounds.
"I just want to tell each and every one of you, thank you for helping to shape my life and for teaching me one of the most important things - that honor is the most important value," Chandler added. "Itís what makes Garryowen, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the pride of not only the 1st Cavalry Division, but as far as Iím concerned, the rest of the United States Army."
Plans have already begun for the 2019 reunion, which will occur once the unit returns from an upcoming deployment to Europe with the 1st Brigade.
1st Squadron 7th Cavalry
Combat veterans of historic cavalry unit receive long-overdue awards
FORT HOOD - A Korean War veteran and 12 Desert Storm veterans of "Custerís Own" 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment "Garryowen" received recognition for their combat service in a long-overdue ceremony Friday at the unitís headquarters on Fort Hood.
The veterans were awarded their gold spurs, a U.S. Army cavalry tradition inducting the former troopers into the Order of the Spur. The gold spurs indicate the troopers served in combat with a cavalry unit and are worn at ceremonial functions, according to Lt. Col. Kevin Bradley, the squadronís commander. The unit is a part of the 1st Cavalry Divisionís 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team.
"Itís easy to say itís an honor (to recognize the veterans), but itís what they deserve," said Maj. Jason Walsh, squadron executive officer. "Itís doing the right thing. I know what itís like to serve, they served, and weíre connected by that bond. "
For former Pfc. Jess Freeman, receiving his gold spurs was nearly 70 years overdue. The Korean War veteran served with the squadron in battles such as the Pusan Perimeter, one of the first major battles of the war in the fall of 1950.
"It wasnít any fun when we went over there, but it sure was nice when we finally came home," Freeman said, adding that it felt "really good" to know his old outfit had not forgotten him.
All the Desert Storm veterans were members of the unitís Echo Troop, which was later reorganized as Comanche Troop following Desert Storm. The squadron led the 1st Cavalry Divisionís assault into Iraq at the beginning of the ground war, Bradley said.
"They went 250 kilometers in 24 hours, leading the charge into Iraq, destroying multiple enemy positions along the way and capturing about 500 prisoners," Bradley said.
For those veterans receiving their spurs, the event held a lot of meaning.
"Itís an emotional event and I think itís long overdue - itís been 27 years," said former Cpl. Julio Marin, who currently works with the National Desert Storm War Memorial. "When we heard the colonel (Bradley) was going out of his way to take care of us old veterans ... Itís a very special day, for a lot of us."
After awarding the spurs, Bradley reminded the troopers that they were always welcome to return and visit as they would always be a part of the unit.
"It is an absolute honor for us to be able to do this today, to honor your service in combat with the gold spurs," he said.
1st Squadron 7th Cavalry soldiers returning home to Fort Hood
FORT HOOD - About 3,500 members of 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division are on their way home from a month-long training exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif
While the "Ironhorse" troopers spent their Thanksgiving holiday in the "sandbox" of the California Mojave Desert, the soldiers should be taking some time off during Christmas to spend with family, said a 1st Cavalry Division spokesman. The brigade conducted multiple training scenarios to prepare for any upcoming rotation or deployment deemed necessary by the U.S. Army.
The full brigade should be back on Fort Hood by the end of the week.
Normally a unit receives orders for a rotation or deployment shortly after completing a training rotation at Fort Irwin. FME News Service has asked the Department of the Army for information on upcoming orders the brigade will receive.