A Fort Carson infantry battalion was thrust into a hectic six-week schedule with an alert on May 1 that the unit’s more than 600 soldiers needed to be in the air and on their way to Europe within 14 days.
There was no real-world emergency, but the short timeline was a way to test the battalion’s ability to rapidly deploy should one arise, in what is known as an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise. The compressed timeline forced the battalion’s leadership to think fast.
“To get a battalion out on this timeline, it requires a total team effort,” Lt. Col. Kirby Dennis, commander of 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. “It was very neat to see all the different entities coming together to make sure we were successful, and I think that’s manifested itself in a fantastic deployment and fantastic training.”
Now, the battalion is in Grafenwoehr, Germany, where they have wrapped up a week of vehicle live-fire qualification. Additionally, the battalion was able to fire 10 anti-tank missiles on the range as well as conduct a large-scale air assault exercise in nearby Hohenfels with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.
The pace of the training was relentless, Dennis said, but his soldiers welcomed it.
“It was the right kind of challenge because it forced our leaders and our soldiers to commit to what they were doing for 24 hours a day for a whole week,” he said. “They’re better trained as a result of that.”
The decision to have the battalion train in Bavaria immediately after the completion of their deployment exercise was made early in the process.
“You don’t just deploy somebody someplace and then turn around and send them right back because it’s a waste of money and not a good use of training resources,” USAREUR planner Lt. Col. Robert Guenther told Stars and Stripes in May.
The battalion’s arrival and movement to the region was also a test of another relatively new initiative. Rather than bring their own vehicles from Fort Carson, which would have taken too much time and resources, the battalion used equipment from the Army’s prepositioned stocks around Europe. These were shipped by rail to Grafenwoehr in anticipation of their arrival.
With its initial live-fire exercises complete, Dennis’ battalion is looking ahead to a summer of Expert Infantry Badge qualification and company-level training before heading to the Joint Readiness Training Center in November.
“We have learned a ton, we’re a much better organization coming out of this,” Dennis said. “We’re more than ready for the next phase of our training cycle.”
Army Sgt. Jeremy Seals died on Oct. 31, 2018, following a protracted battle with stomach cancer. His widow, Cheryl Seals is mounting a lawsuit alleging that military care providers missed her husband's cancer. Task & Purpose photo illustration by Aaron Provost
The widow of a soldier whose stomach cancer was allegedly overlooked by Army doctors for four years is mounting a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military, but due to a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, her case will likely be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.
The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)
In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.
Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.
And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.