Sgt. Mark A. Moore II
2nd Brigade Combat Team Journalist
More than 80 Soldiers assigned to 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, “Polar Bears,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, participated in a live-fire room clearance exercise, Dec. 9-13, in Fort Drum’s training areas.
Before the Soldiers conducted the live-fire exercise, they trained on individual weapon skills and practiced different scenarios they may encounter while clearing a room during day and nighttime conditions.
Before going through the course qualification course using live ammunition, the Soldiers made sure everyone understood their responsibilities and cleared the rooms while firing blank rounds.
Live-fire qualifications are conducted in a bullet-resistant structure, because it provides leaders and Soldiers a safe and realistic training environment.
“Soldiers are able to safely shoot live rounds inside of a building with a 360-degree field of fire; this helps to simulate a real-world environment,” said Sgt. 1st. Class Alex Anderson, a squad leader.
He explained that the trainers “are able to place targets anywhere we like, just as the enemy may be hiding anywhere within a room,” which allows them the flexibility to tailor iterations and keep Soldiers on their toes.
For those Soldiers entering and clearing rooms, trust and confidence in their team members’ abilities is non-negotiable. One ill-placed shot could turn training into a medical emergency.
“You just have to trust your team members; you go in to the rooms and practice with dry-fire exercises, then move on to blanks,” said Pvt. Rico Covington. “After that, you just have to suit up, go in there and do it.”
When Soldiers were not involved with practicing room-clearing operations, they practiced “buddy aid,” which is basic lifesaving skills that nonmedical personnel learn to help save injured comrades on the battlefield.
“First responders trained in basic lifesaving techniques can really make the difference in casualty treatment,” said Spc. Patrick McCormack, a senior medic. “We don’t always have a medic present at the time of injury, so it’s important that every Soldier has a basic knowledge of life-saving treatment.”
Educating Soldiers on basic medical knowledge and training them on how to provide buddy aid to an injured friend contributes to saving lives.