2nd SQDN, 11th ACR conducts platoon, live fire training

Spc. Everheart, from 1st Platoon Easy Troop, fires his M249 during Night Live Fire. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Donald Wright, 11ACR)

NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER/FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Easy and Fury Troopers of 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment had the opportunity to conduct Platoon Situational Training Exercises and Live Fire Exercises.

This training for the Squadron was a proof of concept for a west to east LFX in order to provide another scenario for rotational training units to participate in. This opportunity provided a base of understanding to the Troopers throughout Fort Irwin on the possibilities that come from the new scenario. This exercise allowed the elements of the National Training Center to work through the planning and execution process for the west to east LFX. The training started with a Road to War Brief which consisted of the mission, area of operation, and an enemy analysis from the Squadron Intelligence Officer (S2). The Troops deployed to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Seattle for an eight day training event. Upon arriving to FOB Seattle, the Platoons were briefed a Troop level operations order (OPORD) from the SQDN Staff and then began the troop leading procedures. After the orders were issued, Platoons conducted rehearsals in preparation for the mission. The Soldiers conducted two day and night iterations during STX. After each iteration Platoons were given an after action review (AAR). In total, during live fire, six Platoons were verified at conducting a Platoon Attack in the night and day.

Troopers communicate the situation to the higher headquarters. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Daniel Berkowitz, 11ACR)

The key sustain for STX lanes was the increase in complexity throughout the iterations. The first Table III day iteration was designed to be simple, as each Platoon progressed, more and more variables were added to increase the difficulty. The Squadron S2 gave scenario-based enemy updates and enemy counterattacks that transitioned the training from a beginner to a more graduate level.  These training lanes allowed all members of the Platoon to better understand dismounted tactics and how to execute the Commander’s intent while remaining flexible.

After the STX lanes, Easy and Fury Troop started their preparations for the live fire exercise. This opportunity truly permitted the units to implement lessons learned during Tables III and IV. Live Fire provided Platoons with a new experience in terms of working with Observer, Coach, Trainers (OC/T’s) from the Operations Group Companies. The OC/Ts were there from start to finish, providing additional feedback and an overall AAR. This added a new set of professional eyes to guide the Soldiers to success.

The LFX took place over three consecutive days. After a Troop OPORD, Platoons began the troop leading procedures. Platoon leadership increased the level of detail in their terrain models at a macro and micro level. One of the biggest takeaways from live fire was ensuring rehearsal time for the Teams, Squads and Platoon. During the live fire scenario, a breach was added to increase the level of complexity. Leaders learned how to properly plan and execute Army doctrine on setting the conditions for a breach Suppress, Obscure, Secure, Reduce, and Attack (SOSRA) at the platoon level. Another learning point for the Soldiers was the importance of conducting a leader’s reconnaissance for the support by fire and confirmation of the objective. Upon completion of the live fire, the units were given formal AARs from the OC/Ts. The AAR covered the troop-leading procedures through the maneuver of the live fire. Some common themes discussed were the importance of phase lines, communication throughout the platoon, and how to properly paint the picture on ground for the higher headquarters.

Overall the Platoon STX and LFX was a valuable experience. The ability to practice dismounted infantry tactics was crucial for the development of Leaders and Soldiers across the formations. The Platoons achieved a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. This understanding was further increased by the continuous feedback received from the Squadron and Operations Group. The training allowed the Troopers to increase their teamwork and lethality. Conducting training on a Platoon by Platoon basis is a key sustain. The scheduling of training allowed for each Squadron to give each Platoon specific attention, feedback, and critiques. The training provided an opportunity for the Platoons to showcase the progression of individual Soldiers, Teams, Squads, and ultimately the progression of the Platoon.