Live Fire Exercises at Fort Stewart - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/08/03

Live Fire Exercises at Fort Stewart

Soldiers from Fort Stewart waiting to leave continue to train. Part of their preparation is learning to function in the small teams that would take the battle to the Iraqi army in the desert. Instructors are hustling to test newly assigned crews so they can be ready to deploy.

"The driver must be able to maneuver the vehicle and give you a steady platform to shoot from," tank commander Sgt. William Coltrey told us. "The gunner has to be able to find targets and hit them."

Instructors say it doesn't matter how good a commander or a gunner or a driver is. It's how well they work as a team. It could be the difference between life and death because you're counting on everybody to do their part of the job.

"You can't expect to fight and win in a tank if the crew doesn't work together," said Lt. William Lewis of the 369th Armor Company.

On this day, they shoot wooden targets, knowing they could soon face an all-too-real enemy. Soldiers say with America approaching war, they want to be a part of it.

"It's lets go and let's get the job done," Spec. Lovell Augustin said.

When deployed, they know they'll spend hours or days inside tanks with the people who could save their life. Normally, crews could wait as long as six months to be certified together, but instructors are trying to get all the armor companies through their testing in a matter of days to be ready to deploy.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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