Rotational units get first taste of MPRC
RODRIGUEZ LIVE FIRE RANGE, South Korea - The sun is blazing and the weather is heating up on the peninsula. On some days, the 90-degree temperature seems unforgiving. The good news is the Army trains its forces to defeat the enemy in all elements. Some units show off that ability as they train to maintain the winning strategy in a joint venture.
With a little more than a month in country, the 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, with OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, spared no time jumping into the saddle. These cavalrymen drove their spurs into a joint training mission alongside a combined arms outfit called the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, based out of Fort Hood, Texas. Both units recently joined the 2nd Infantry Division on a nine-month deployment here.
Like its counterpart from Texas, the 6-17th Cav. Regt., based out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, arrived as a combat ready force with the mindset to accomplish their mission here.
"The 6-17th Cavalry arrived to the peninsula fully trained, ready to execute and understand the Fight Tonight mentality," said Ltc. Matthew F. Ketchum, commander of the 6-17th Cav. Regt. and native of The Dalles, Ore.
Both units conducted gunnery at the Multi-Purpose Range Complex, also known as Rodriguez Range, near Pocheon, South Korea. They didn't go at it alone though. The 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, a regular at MPRC with their AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopters and an organic unit of the 2nd Inf. Div., also trained with the rotational duo. Their training began July 1 and continued for over a week.
The ground trembled like an earthquake as tanks and aircraft unleashed a fury of deadly ordnance on their fictitious enemy. The realistic training provided a chance to enhance interoperability among these different units.
"It's definitely a unique opportunity," said 1st Lt. Demetrios Kolitsos, 1st platoon leader with Company C, 1-12th Cav. Regt. and native of Youngtown, Ohio. "It's been a very good experience for us thus far. We've had a chance to work with other units out here that we don't have much experience with. Korea itself provides some very unique challenges, and we had an opportunity to use all of the different assets at our disposal to meet those challenges."
One of those assets, the rotary wing aircraft, played a key role in providing a peace of mind to the combat arms troops on the ground during the training scenario.
"Working with 1-12th Cavalry, we were able to display our ability to provide close combat attack, reconnaissance and security, as well as the added situational awareness our aerial perspective can offer a ground force commander." said Michael A. Krivensky, commander of Troop A, 6-17th Cav. Regt. and native of Northern Virginia. "It was a tremendous opportunity to enhance our training with a genuine ground force element in a combined arms live fire environment."
One Soldier, who maintains these reconnaissance helicopters, tells of its ability to lay down the law in training or real world situations.
"When they call in air support, we deliver," said Sgt. Alexander J. Arvai, an OH-58D Kiowa helicopter crew chief with Troop A, 6-17th Cav. Regt. and native of Atlanta, Ga. "Wherever they need firepower, that's what we do. We deliver 2.75mm rockets, 50 caliber rounds or even the [HELLFIRE missile]."
The capabilities of these forces may, without a doubt, enhance the overall readiness on the Korean peninsula. These assets, combined with their Republic of Korea counterparts, could surely enhance this fighting force through future combined training. Arvai looks forward to that opportunity on his agenda here.
"So far I've enjoyed getting to interact with the ROK army," said Arvai. "They are a great and proud people. They cherish the freedom that other people sometimes take for granted, because they have a threat right across the border. They train hard, work well and I'm looking forward to working with them very much."
The participating units completed their training with zero incidences. They departed the training area, but not for very long. These units will soon return mission-focused proudly representing the Indianhead division, as they conduct full spectrum training across the Korean peninsula.