Training With Fort Stewart's 4th Brigade Combat Team in Kuwait - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/27/07

Training With Fort Stewart's 4th Brigade Combat Team in Kuwait

Soldiers make sure their Bradleys and tank vehicles are ready before heading to Iraq. Soldiers make sure their Bradleys and tank vehicles are ready before heading to Iraq.
Soldiers set up in teams of four, walk in sync, and sight on an imaginary target during training in Kuwait. Soldiers set up in teams of four, walk in sync, and sight on an imaginary target during training in Kuwait.

UDARI RANGE, NORTHERN KUWAIT--It begins without body armor. Without ammunition. Without targets.

Third Infantry Division soldiers training, walking through the drills to train their bodies, eyes and minds. Setting up in teams of four, walking in sync, sighting on an imaginary target, taking aim and ready to fire. Make their weapons extensions of themselves. Repetition until they can do it in their sleep. Training in coastal Georgia was one thing, but now, it's about to get real.

Col. Thomas James is the 4th Brigade Combat Team Commander.  His troops left Fort Stewart over a couple of days in late October. First stop, Kuwait.  "The transition has been great. You know we have about 3,400 soldiers that have deployed here into Kuwait, as part of reception, staging, onward movement and integration phase of our operation," he explained. "And it's critical for us to link up with our equipment here after it's gone across the sea and test fire all our weapons systems and our Bradley and tank vehicles and all of our combat systems to make sure that they're ready and reinforce soldier confidence as we move forward, or north to Iraq."

"North to Iraq" has real meaning here. This training site is so close, they can see the lights of the border crossing at night. We could walk to Iraq from here in less than an hour. The walking gets more serious. The gunfire ringing out over the range as soldiers advance from walking drills to full live fire, targets in wooden racks riddled with bullet holes.

Not far away, the booming of the bigger guns.

Sgt. John Meyer and his crew are among those hard at work. "Today we're out here zeroing our Bradleys, making sure that all the weapons systems that are on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle are up to par and pretty much doing a whole once over of the vehicle and making sure everything's straight," he told us. "A Bradley's a reconnaissance vehicle, we use the optics for looking out and seeing if we can see the enemy at a distance before they see us. It's pretty much the main vehicle for the eyes and ears of the commander. It's what we operate off if. It has a 25mm gun system that's just the main gun, has a crew compartment in the back that holds roughly three people. I love the Bradley; it's a very great vehicle. I wouldn't want to be on anything else."

"It's also giving some of the soldiers some extra familiarization with the weapons systems." Sgt. Dustin Skarecky knows they'll need it, since the systems, and the skills, may someday, over the next fifteen months, save their lives.

 Reported by: Mike Manhatton, mmanhatton@wtoc.com

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