Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

‘Phoenix’ rises from snow

Spc. William Orkies, forward observer, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, prepares to fire his M4 rifle at targets Dec. 8, during a four-day training exercise at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site.

Story and photos by Spc. Cardell Brown

1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division

More than 250 Soldiers from 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducted a training exercise at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site Dec. 6-9.

The “Phoenix” Battalion’s first training exercise since redeploying from Afghanistan was geared toward conducting full-spectrum operations anywhere in the world.

The training began with a four-hour convoy from Fort Carson to the southern training area where Phoenix Soldiers trained on weapon qualification ranges, military operations in urban terrain and combat lifesaver exercises.

“Our Soldiers conducted day and night live-fire exercises with crew-served weapon systems as well as performing driver training and a combat lifesaver course to ensure they developed the proper skills needed to combat any enemy threat,” said Maj. Wayne Keeler, battalion operations officer-in-charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Com­pany, 1st STB. “This training event is the first of many we’ll participate in to get ready for combat operations in any part of the world.”

“We pulled our Soldiers away from Fort Carson because we wanted them to get back into the mindset of being out in the field,” said Russell. “With the help of the snow and the amount of training our Soldiers conducted, we were able to do just that.”

Keeler added that the tough, realistic training at Piñon Canyon allows junior leaders to develop critical war fighting leadership skills while building overall unit cohesion in the process.

The two-hour combat lifesaver course was taught by Spc. William Prescott, combat medic, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, who trained Soldiers on proper tourniquet placement, trauma dressings and chest decompression methods.

Prescott added that the skills being taught in the course could save somebody’s life if the skills were ever needed.

Soldiers also went to designated ranges to learn how to properly operate and shoot a .50-caliber Browning machine gun, an M240 machine gun, an M249 light machine gun and an M203 grenade launcher in addition to their primary M4 or M16 rifle.

Despite challenging terrain, snow and blistering cold weather, Soldiers participated in the live-fire exercises with seemingly positive attitudes and a desire to succeed.

“I’ve never been this cold in my life and this field exercise is something that a lot of us were not looking forward to,” said Pfc. Bobby Tetherow, forward observer, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1st STB. “However, after going through different battle drills and practicing operating different crew-served weapons, it was well worth it.”

Before completing their exercise, leaders and Soldiers participated in a steak dinner in downtown Trinidad to spend time with local community leaders.

“The community always has supported the ‘Raider’ Brigade while conducting training,” said Keeler. “Building rapport with those who support us helps us accomplish our mission and builds a better training environment.”

This training exercise laid the foundation for all future training that Phoenix will undergo to prepare for their next mission anywhere in the world, said Keeler.

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