2nd Lt. Louis A Bastone
3/7 Cav. Regt., 2BCT
As any Soldier will tell you, deployments require a substantial amount of training prior to the departure date. For troopers of 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry it is no different; Medical check-ups, legal appointments, driver and roll over training, cultural familiarization, weapons qualification and dozens of other requirements are just a few of the preparations that keep Soldiers very busy prior to a deployment. Just as significant as Soldier’s Readiness is Family readiness.
The strain of long deployments overseas is even more difficult if Families have not been prepared. The 3/7 Cav. has put on several events to strengthen Family Readiness and integrate troopers’ loved ones into Squadron life.
“We’ve had the Rocky Puppet Show for children of deploying troopers, as well two town hall meetings where Families can ask questions about upcoming missions,” said 1st Lt. Leighton Cornish, the Squadron FSO. “It really helps Families feel more comfortable when the Squadron Leadership takes proactive steps to keep them in the loop.”
Even with the high-paced tempo of pre-deployment training, 3/7 Cav. still took time to host the annual Saber Ball in down town Savannah. The event was steeped in tradition.
The event helped to strengthen espirit de corps and give troopers and spouses a chance to kick back and enjoy themselves with their comrades. “The ball allowed Families to have fun, build memories and experience Cavalry traditions while learning about our history,” said Maj. Mark Weaver, the Squadron Operations Officer.
In addition to the Town Hall meetings and Saber Ball, 3/7 Cav. participated in the Deployment Fair at Newnan Gym, a two day event for troopers and Families to learn about what to expect and what type of support is available for Soldiers and loved ones.
“It was great to see what was available for us”, Family Member Morena Jones said. “I didn’t realize there were so many organizations that provided support.”
As 3/7 Cav. prepares for their future missions, Families will continue their own internal preparation with help from the unit’s Family Readiness Group. One of the unit’s rear detachment’s most important missions is maintaining the effectiveness of the FRG. The FRG will act as an important link between the Families and the unit, disseminating information and keeping Families in touch with their troopers.
“The importance of the FRG can’t be understated,” 1st Lt. Cornish said. “We’ve insured that that organization will still be as strong as ever during the deployment.”
Families make up the most important support system for Soldiers deploying overseas. Troopers whose Family is ready and informed about a deployment are more likely to lend additional support to the unit. As 3/7 Cav. and other units prepare for future missions in unfamiliar lands you can be certain that they will take steps to prepare not only their men, weapons and equipment, but their Families too.
Sgt. Dustin Gautney
2HBCT Public Affairs
Recently Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, began a succession of rapid training to prepare themselves for their upcoming deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Folk Pork, Louisiana.
Most military units that deploy to JRTC often have months of train-up prior to their training rotation. However, since the Saber Squadron has only had a few weeks’ notice, the unit has made a 360-degree change of their training calendar to better prepare themselves for the challenges of JRTC, according to Lt. Col. Lance Varney, commander, 3-7 Cavalry.
“As soon as we were notified of our JRTC rotation we had to do a complete reversal of our training schedule. Originally we were heavily focused on basic cavalry scout technics and Bradley Fighting Vehicle gunnery. Now that training had to completely change to meet the requirements for JRTC,” said Lt. Col. Varney.
The change in training does not necessary mean a draw back for the squadron, stated Lt. Col. Varney.
“We are taking the approach to JRTC like we would a standard deployment. This means the focus had to change from gunnery to personal readiness; something up till now we have not trained for,” said Lt. Col. Varney. “Just like a standard deployment, were having Soldiers go through every step as if this was an overseas deployment. From the Soldier Readiness Processing, to make sure their personal recorders are in order, to even a town hall and a deployment fair, to ensure our staff has the full experience of a deployment.”
Lieutenant Colonel Varney also stated the deployment preparation training was not only falling primarily on the Soldiers or the Family Readiness Group, but the squadron’s staff has been required to battle plan maneuvers, same as they would for a deployment.
“We have a young staff here, so it was key for them to learn the essential detailed planning and coordinating tasks related to deploying a unit. This meant rigorous mission analysis and Rehearsal of Concept drills, that all have yielded excellent training experiences for the command staff,” said Lt. Col. Varney.
Because of the mission requirements for JRTC, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Mingle, 3-7 Cavalry, stated the squadron’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle crews had to quickly train-up and certify on light gun trucks to be a vital asset for the squadron during the rotation.
“I am extremely proud of how quickly and proficiently our Soldiers have taken to the changes that have been thrown at them. They really do live up to the motto: Any Mission, Any Time, Any Where,” said. Command Sgt. Maj. Mingle.
Sgt. Dustin Gautney
2HBCT Public Affairs
Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, recently completed the squadron’s unstabilized gunnery during a nine-day training exercise held at Fort Stewart.
The squadron associates the success of this year’s gunnery to the work put into the previous year’s gunnery, which focused heavily on basic gunnery fundamentals.
“The difference between this year’s and last year’s gunnery is that we started preparing for this year at the conclusion of gunnery last year,” said Lt. Col. Lance Varney, commander, 3/7 Cav.
Lieutenant Colonel Varney also stated that while the squadron retained much of the knowledge learned from the previous year; many of the crews qualifying were new.
“Although we have many new crews, we still have enough institutional knowledge within the squadron which has made this year’s gunnery go much smoother. Last year we focused heavily on the fundamentals, which allowed the Squadron to qualify about the same number of brand new gunners in about a third of the time,” Lt. Col. Varney said.
“During the gunnery multi-phase training evaluation, learning how to maintain, employ, operate and actually be tested on a weapons system is crucial. Gunnery not only tests competency, but also builds Soldier’s confidence in their individual and team skills while simulating real life battlefield situations,” said Sgt. First Class Noel Sawyer, 3/7 Cav., 2HBCT, squadron master gunner.
Sergeant First Class Sawyer stated that Gunnery is a systematic process that focuses on main weapon systems and validates the training Soldiers have completed throughout the year. It also builds the confidence in the Soldiers, preparing them to use their weapon systems in combat situations.
Sergeant First Class Sawyer agreed with Lt. Col. Varney that the success from the previous year has led to greater success during the squadron’s current gunnery.
“All of our Soldiers, including the officers, noncommissioned officers, gunners and drivers, have done an outstanding job in gunnery this year, building on our successes from last year,” Sgt. First Class Sawyer said.