Third ID Cavalry Unit Trains for Iraq - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/30/06

Third ID Cavalry Unit Trains for Iraq

With another deployment approaching in January, soldiers at Fort Stewart continue to train for battle in Iraq. That means spending weeks at a time out on the range, where one cavalry unit is sharpening its old skills, and learning new ones.

In the woods of Fort Stewart, members of 3-7 Cav train for anything they could see in Iraq, including rain like they had today. The Third Infantry's imminent return to Iraq makes every training exercise crucial.

Staff Sgt. David Liebsch told us it was about "getting the new guys trained up. Some of my guys have never seen this before."

But firepower isn't their only priority. For this deployment, training also centers on when not to shoot. Sgt. 1st Class Casey White explained the system as troops fired at targets: "The targets with reflective vests are simulating friendly forces. Those without are the vests are enemy forces."

In Iraq, they could be even closer than during today's exercise. One bad decision could make a tense climate even worse.

"We're working to win the hearts and minds of the citizens and not create more problems with the situation," said Lt. Nate Paschal.

Crews in Humvees, Bradleys, and tanks must learn to work together as well as work with friendly Iraqis to bring security and peace to the country.

In this particular company, there are as many who have deployed before as those who haven't. But these soldiers say complacency can be as bad as inexperience. 

"The hardest thing is keeping focus, because you know there's no real danger out here," said Sgt. Liebsch. "You slack off and you make mistakes, and when you train that way, you'll do it for real."

They say getting it right here improves the chances they come back from over there.

Reported by Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com 

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