NEWS | Dec. 11, 2017

'Cacti' Clears the Room during Squad Live Fire

By Staff Sgt. Armando Limon

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - With professional precision, Soldiers tactically stormed and seized an urban environment in broad daylight. They cleared a concrete building of the enemy and held the objective.

Infantrymen assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, "Cacti," 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, performed squad live fire exercises (LFX) at the Military Operations on Urban Terrain site, here, Dec. 5-6.

Six squads conducted Battle Drill 6, which is known as entering a building and clear a room, to improve their core infantry skills.

"One of our company's weakness is building clearance during a stressful situation and coordination with friendlies in the area," said 1st Lt. Kristopher Keller, assigned to Company A, 2-35 Inf. Regt. "This training offers the ability to overcome some of our weakness and evaluate what we need to work on."

The leadership wanted to ensure the infantry squads faced the most representative aspects possible for the training.

"We are able to use a lot of what the MOUT site has to offer," Keller said. "To include the audio system to create a stressful and realistic environment and the realistic nature of the buildings. We also resourced targets that will show feedback, smoke, casualties, Short-Range Training Ammunition rounds, and use of company markings."

Squads demonstrated Battle Drill 6 proficiency under LFX conditions in order to create a lethal squad for next year's Joint Readiness Training Center rotation at Fort Polk, Louisiana, he said.

Sgt. Michael Prisco, squad leader assigned to Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt., said moving from a team leader position to a squad leader position was a new learning curve for him.

"I'm trying to get out of the bad habits I have, like being from a team leader, like going too fast," Prisco said. "Now I'm a squad leader trying to control my team leaders to slowing it down and moving as fast as they can engage."

For a new team leader such as Spc. Allan Acosta, assigned to Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt., this was new leadership scenario for him during the training as well.

"The biggest thing I got of the training is that I'm covering down to be a team leader, so it's different," Acosta said. "I'm taking charge of three other Soldiers rather than being told what to do. So telling other people what do is a lot different than being told what to do."

The introduction of the SRTA rounds during the live fire provided a unique training aspect during the scenario for the Soldiers.

"It was very different using the SRTA rounds during the mission," Prisco said. "I was expecting for it to work similar to training paint rounds. For the live fire scenario they worked very well within the all the rooms. However, when we were shooting at the long distances, we weren't able to actually tell if the targeting was getting with the round or if it was actually impacting with that as well."

"I never used them before," Acosta said. "They're a little different. They were kind of jamming up on me a little bit. I don't know if it was the round itself or if my weapons wasn't 100 percent clean."

In the end, the training was not only worthwhile for the squads, but highly enjoyable for them too.

"It was exciting really," Acosta said. "We love doing this kind of stuff. Clearing rooms is fun compared to doing super long running lanes. I think a lot of the guys love doing this kind of training."