2nd ID Bradley teams train to repel platoon-sized attacks
RODRIGUEZ RANGE, South Korea — Bradley Fighting Vehicle gunner Pfc. Mitch Boyd read all he could about the 25 mm “Bushmaster” automatic gun in books.
He learned a lot that way, but one inescapable fact remained — you can’t see the hot metal flying from a book.
Boyd had his first taste of gunnery action behind his weapon during the past week as the 2nd Infantry Division’s 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry completed its qualifications and then trained on platoon-sized attacks, combined with Air Force air support.
“What kind of difference does it make? I would say all, plus more,” Boyd said.
Bradley teams from three different troops practiced against targets ranging from 600 to 1,800 meters away on Friday.
Three Bradleys at a time coordinated attacks, firing at individual pop-up targets and a variety of vehicle-like targets.
Further crippling the enemy force, airmen from the Tactical Air Control Party called in an A-10 air strike with 25-pound practice smoke bombs.
These airmen spend their careers attached to the Army, bridging the gap between Army language and Air Force pilot-speak.
“It’s a pretty dynamic thing to have on a battlefield, covering so much ground in so little time,” said Tech Sgt. Michael Flanagan.
The call for air support is one more piece that the cavalry soldiers can pick up that will help them in real-world situations. But the most important aspect of the platoon attack training is how well the platoon leader maneuvers and operates the vehicles, said 4-7 Comanche Troop Capt. Steven McGunegle.
Some of the newer soldiers, like Pfc. Alexander Conyngham, are charged with dismounting and providing vehicle security. They pay attention to everything going on around them not only for mission safety, but with an eye toward what they may be doing next.
“We learn each other’s jobs so that when we’re ready to move up to driver or gunner, we know what to do,” Conyngham said.
Soldiers from 4-7 began training at the range April 4, completing individual vehicle qualification before moving on to the tandem attacks. They were to wrap up their range time Sunday and Monday with a “Spur Ride” — a rigorous skills test allowing those who complete it with proficiency to wear the cavalry soldier’s traditional spurs.