Sgt. Mark Miranda, 4th Bde. 1st Armored Div.
Soldiers from A and C Companies of 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment staged themselves Feb. 9 at Range 62 near Fort Bliss, Texas to participate in an exercise dubbed Operation Broadsword. In preparation for its NTC rotation, crews of its M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles utilized MILES gear and squared off against role-playing “opposition forces.”
“These Platoon Certification Exercises (CERTEX) lets leaders exhibit fire control and distribution. We test them on their ability to integrate direct and indirect fires,” said Capt. Matthew Ostergaard.
“It’s also a test of their troop leading procedures,” added Ostergaard.
Completing certification exercise on McGregor Range from Feb. 1-17, brings 1st Bn., 77th Armor Regt.’s units a step closer to being capable to perform its wartime missions. The certification exercises are part of Operation Broadsword, a scheduled late-winter exercise that provides valuable training for all battalions of 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
As part of the certification, the unit simulated a deployment and convoyed to McGregor Range; it set up an operations command post and conducted operations with other units participating in the exercise.
Throughout the exercise, Bradley crews and infantry teams worked together to demonstrate their ability to coordinate efforts with each other, just like they would in a real-world deployment. Sister companies of 1-77 Armor ran a live-fire exercise on Range 63 and a situational training exercise on Range 72.
“The STX incorporates three key training events,” said Capt. Michael Settembre, a battalion liason officer for 1st Bn. 77th Armor Regt.
“Soldiers run through the course in an urban setting, first reacting to an improvised explosive device; they encounter the IED on their way to a key leader engagement,” said Settembre.
Once in the key leader engagement phase, unit commanders meet with role players acting the part of local population leaders such as town mayors, tribe elders, governors, or police and military officials. Foreign language and other cultural barriers add realism in gaining cooperation of the locals, simulating conditions how units will operate in theater.
“Once the key leader engagement is finished, the unit follows a lead based on any intel gathered from the KLE. On their way to the next location, they make enemy contact, and are then put in a casualty evacuation training scenario,” said Settembre.
Units of 4th Bde., 1st Armored Div. will continue with exercises this week and are in preparation for the Highlander Brigade’s rotation to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.