Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On the Choppa!

Many units go through the training here at Fort Dix for mobilization into combat. Not all units do so with accolades in achieving above course standards.

There was a culminating live fire exercise where the 211th MPAD was forced to defend base perimeter from an overwhelming force. We had lines of M4 rifles firing down range and discriminative sniper fire from M4 scoped rifles from the towers (I was one of those guys).

The training was intense. Arabic prayers roared over the intercom system while explosions muffled the speakers. Whistles of incoming mortar fire sung like banshees followed by earthquake effects on the towers.

Smoke masked the position of the enemy. Soldiers fired bullets downrange toward incoming enemy while others attempted to find more ammunition for the fight.

Consider that this training is focused more on combat arms rather than public affairs and other administrative career fields. This is where the irony comes in.

As a unit we moved like a machine. Soldiers gave cover-fire for their buddy's lanes while rifles were being reloaded and malfunctions corrected like it was second nature. Orders were clear and uniformed and the enemy was put down.

The trainers said that there would be casualties on the combat field. That key leaders may be taken out for other leadership to fill their shoes. They said that no unit has come through here without killing civilians on the combat field.

The 211th MPAD suffered no casualties. They took out all the enemies and avoided any collateral damage. There were no civilian casualties on the range, and the 211th showed their mettle.

The weather was chilling, the sky was overcast, the training was intense. The 211th MPAD prevailed where other units have failed. We shoot civilians with cameras not bullets.


Larger photos and story by SFC Ronald Burke Click here!

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