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August 16, 2012

511th MICO Smoke Platoon’s mission unique in Army

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Story and Photos by Sgt. Anthony J. Lecours

A cloud of thick smoke rises over the city allowing Soldiers from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment concealment while infiltrating the objective at the National Training Center Aug. 10. Smoke Platoon, 511th Military Intelligence Company races ahead of the convoy in Humvees with the M56 Coyote smoke generator billowing thick smoke in their wake.

“We are the only smoke platoon on active duty,” said Staff Sgt. Damaar Green, the platoon sergeant of Smoke Platoon. “We really are unique in the services we can provide and when used effectively we can be a major force multiplier.”

The smoke provides concealment for friendly forces as the move from objective to objective. The primary difference between the smoke from a Coyote and a smoke grenade is volume. The generator pumps out enough smoke to conceal vehicles as they move in.

“It’s great to get out there and blow some smoke,” said Smoke Platoon Soldier Spc. Emily Romo. “It’s difficult though because we are on the front lines so often we are the first ones to engage the rotational unit.

Smoke obscuration operations deny the enemies sight and targeting capabilities. In addition to the physical loss of sight smoke provides the psychological advantage of appearing to strike from nowhere.

“Terrain is definitely a huge obstacle we face,” said Spc. Regineka Upshur. “We are limited to what we can cover based on where our Humvee can go.”




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