The 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment is the Reconnaissance Surveillance and Target Acquisition Squadron for 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, who came to the National Training Center in order to train their forces for Security Force Advisory Team missions in Afghanistan. The SFAT teams will act in an advisory role to Afghan Security Forces and Afghan Government Organizations.
“The desired end state is that the Afghan National Security Forces are prepared to assume the lead role in operations and the teams are there to assist in that process,” said Capt. Benjamin Woods, executive officer of 1-71 CAV.
While 1BCT, 10th MTN DIV, trained for the SFAT mission, 1-71 CAV was tasked with a unique mission set: the scouts replicated Afghan National Army and Afghan Uniformed Police. To better facilitate training, 1-71 CAV developed a close working relationship with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
“The Black Horse Regiment has a great understanding of this type of terrain and Afghan terrain, and there has been a lot of valuable cross talk, about not only being deployed, but sharing valuable techniques on working with Afghan security forces,” said Capt. Patrick Caughey, commander of B Troop, 1-71 CAV.
Leaders within the organization discovered that, although they were here to assist in the training of the SFAT, they found great opportunities for training and development. In the words of one scout leader: “With the help of 11th ACR, we have been able to focus on training our scouts on tasks essential in the cavalry organization and refine the relationship roles with the leaders in our troop,” said 1st Sgt. Charles Rumschlag, first sergeant for B Troop, 1-71 CAV. “Because of this, I have seen closeness in our troop that I have not seen for some time now.”
Overall, the scouts of 1-71 have enjoyed their time at the NTC as it has tested many senior scout leaders and developed many of their junior leaders.
“It has been a great opportunity for junior leaders to step up to fill roles that are higher in grade then they are used to filling, and it has been a great way to reinforce some of the collective training that we have conducted at Fort Drum,” Caughey said.
The 1-71 CAV leaves Fort Irwin at the end of September, however, the lessons learned and the camaraderie built with 11th ACR will be lasting; a strong professional relationship was built on friendship and respect between two proud cavalry organizations.