Sustainment functions, communication a focus as 3rd ABCT Soldiers prepare for NTC

(U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Matthew J. Marcellus)

FORT BLISS, Texas — Soldiers assigned to 123rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, participated in a live-fire exercise at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, March 15.

The training exercise, part of the Bulldog Focus exercise that lasted several weeks and focused on readiness and communication, prepared the Soldiers for an upcoming rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

The training focused on convoy live-fires, which are designed to prepare them for combat missions and to accomplish objectives as part of a cohesive unit.

“Soldiers are practicing moving in a convoy, just as they would do in their regular mission, and engaging in a variety of live-fire target scenarios,” said Maj. Terron Wharton, the operations officer with the 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, who was supervising the 123rd BSB’s training exercise. “This allows them to practice engaging targets, like they would do in a convoy.”

The 123rd BSB’s training ensures that the battalion can efficiently cooperate in their assigned tasks and effectively complete their mission.

“This brings group cohesion within the unit,” said 1st Lt. Brandon Stacy, a transportation officer with the 123rd BSB. “It gives us a better understanding of where we are at, and where we need to improve.”

The importance of communication within the 123rd BSB became clear throughout the training exercise.

“Communication is important. We have to be constant when communicating with each other,” said Cpl. Francisco Oliver, a petroleum supply specialist with the 123rd BSB. “We have to talk with the person next to us and let them know ‘Hey, we have a target over here’ so they can turn or engage them.”

The diversified nature of the 123rd BSB, which possesses numerous and varied military occupational specialties that uniquely contribute to missions, ensures that training is multifaceted and thorough.

“We have to be ready to provide the logistical support for the brigade, as you can’t move without it,” said Sgt. Arvin B. Bonifacio, a wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to Company B, 123rd BSB. “This training is important because we don’t know everything. We have to know the basics first so that we can move forward.”

The 123rd BSB’s exercises also developed communication and leadership qualities in junior officers.

“This allows platoon leaders to practice the fire distribution and control,” Wharton said. “It requires them to practice reporting those engagements and battle damage assessments up to their company command.”

The training exercise provided an important opportunity for the 123rd BSB to practice real-life scenarios in preparation for the chaotic and unpredictable realities of combat.

“A lot of times, sustainment Soldiers don’t get the same amount of range time as the combat arms soldiers” Wharton said. “It’s very important to us as we head into NTC to develop confidence and lethality in our sustainment Soldiers, so they are able to engage, destroy and dominate any threat that they face on the battlefield.”