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NEWS | April 13, 2015

Vital Platoon Exercise Evaluation

By Sgt. Jesse Smith

The smoke is still rising. You lay awkwardly where you thought you were when it happened. It’s dark with just a little bit starlight for you to see your hands. All you know is that everything hurts, and you want to get out of there. You have crash landed into enemy territory and have to take the necessary steps to keep you and the rest of your platoon alive long enough to be rescued. Will you make it?

Soldiers from the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, participated in personnel recovery training during a platoon exercise evaluation from April 6-13 at various training locations in South Korea. Personnel recovery training is used to teach Soldiers the proper techniques and methods to be rescued if caught in a bad location or situation.

First Lt. Zachary Bontrager, a platoon leader from Troop C, 2-6th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, was one of the Soldiers participating in the exercise evaluation.

“To begin the training our aircraft was shot down notionally, so we had to execute a recovery plan,” Bontrager said. “Exercises like these are vital to the success and lives of our Soldiers because you just never know what’s going to happen out there.”

He said performing in this exercise was different due to the fact that normally his unit operates in small teams instead of as a larger platoon.

“It was definitely something different, and it was great training,” Bontrager said.

Along with the personnel recovery, the other tasks the platoons had to complete were a zone reconnaissance mission, an attack exercise and a vehicle recovery. The 2-6th Cavalry Regiement had all of their Soldiers in the field for this exercise from the cooks to the fuelers. Each person did his or her job to accomplish the mission. Maj. Lee, the ROKA 103rd operations officer, even stopped by to see the great training the unit completed.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kennamer Yates, the tactical operations officer for the Troop C, 2-6th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd CAB, was another Soldiers who participated in the exercise evaluation.

“We are out here evaluating what we trained on before deploying to Korea,” Yates said. “This is a chance for the Soldiers to really demonstrate their knowledge.”

Yates said there are some differences in doing an exercise evaluation here in the Republic of Korea compared to doing it somewhere else.

“Here in Korea there is just a lot more area to do the training which is great,” Yates said. “There are also a lot more assets at our disposal.”

Yates said he believes the Soldiers will leave this exercise more prepared to execute during a personnel recovery, zone reconnaissance, vehicle recovery and an attack scenario. They leave here ready to, “fight tonight!”
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