Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Porch
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Like a stampede of horses, M1A2 Abrams tanks roared across an open field as Soldiers of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducted breach training near Fort Carson’s Camp Red Devil, Jan. 10.
“Talon” Soldiers conducted training at both the platoon and company level to work on the basics of breaching an obstacle and engaging an objective.
“It takes a lot of coordination between the platoons,” said Staff Sgt. Manuel Perez, armor crewmember, Company D. “Knowing your sectors of fire, ensuring support by fire is set up, and near and far security is established are all key elements to a successful breach.”
For a majority of the tankers, this is the first time training on their equipment in more than two years.
“It’s awesome to do our job now,” said Perez. “We actually get to be tankers again. It was fun being light infantry, but it’s nice to have our equipment and be riding out on our ‘pigs.’”
Other Soldiers agreed that being on the M1A2 Abrams tank is the preferred way to train.
“It’s a great feeling being back on our equipment,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffery McLane, armor crewman, Company D. “It’s what we signed up to do and the training is going really good.”
Soldiers performing the breaching techniques encountered multiple defensive obstacles such as scout snipers, M1A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, dismounted scout teams and long-range reconnaissance vehicles.
“The more realistic the training, the better it is,” said Capt. Jonathan Dyer, observer controller and battalion engineer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Bn., 8th Inf. Reg. “They are doing great, this is just a crawl phase for us, but we will be able to walk and later run.”
The Talon Soldiers saw improvement every time they conducted the training, McLane said.
“We are getting better every day. We started three days ago and the difference is day and night,” he said.
Though improving is important, the Soldiers know their main mission is to ensure everyone learns something new together.
“It’s all about teamwork and helping each other out,” said Perez. “Everyone has to do their part to make sure no one is untrained.”
Talon Soldiers are using the training to prepare for upcoming exercises in Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in February and at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., this summer.