FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- From tanks and armored vehicles to Apaches and soldiers on the ground, the Big Red One’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team went all out Thursday, using the bevy of weapons for a mock assault and counterattack.
They’ve been training and building up to the combined arms live fire exercise for months.
The training combined ground forces and maneuver equipment from the unit, which is comprised of nearly 4,000 soldiers.
The "Dagger" Brigade received the Army’s newest versions of Abrams tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicles this past April. The event included the M1A2 SEP V2 Abrams Tanks and M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles training alongside the unit’s infantry soldiers.
"With this exercise here, you have to coordinate with tanks, you have to coordinate with aircrafts, you have to coordinate with aircrafts, you have to coordinate with soldiers on the ground. This is the first training where we’ve done live ammo through a training area like this. It was real exciting. The soldiers were really excited when rounds were going off and they blew the explosions. The tanks were shooting and the aircrafts were shooting as well," said Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Pratis, Bradley Commander with 1-18 Infantry.
It is the first time in 10 years that Fort Riley conducted such an exercise with so many moving parts.
"What you saw out here today, it allowed a company commander to incorporate all his weapons systems so from a rifle that you saw with some of the soldiers there all the way to the tanks and Bradleys along with the aviation aspect with the Apaches and the artillery with the Paladins," said Colonel Jeff Broadwater, 2nd Brigade Commander.
"So as the company and company commander are moving through the area there, they get the opportunity really to make sure that they are having their direct fire control measures- how does a person maintain control of his forces as they’re moving forward- that just gives them a little better opportunity to that better out here in the training field versus on a range," he added.
The soldiers are honing their combat skills and preparing for their assignment as the Army’s first Regionally Aligned Force.
Regionally aligned forces are Army units tasked to train, mentor and collaborate with partner nation security forces.
Beginning in 2013, select elements of the "Dagger" Brigade are set to deploy to Africa where their mission will be to advise, train and assist.
The brigade is the first Army unit to receive this mission, which will include language, regional expertise and culture training, Fort Riley officials explained.
"One of the great things that I think that all of our soldiers are very excited about is to share that knowledge with a country that we haven’t necessarily been partnered with before. We’ve learned great skills in partnering with host nation security forces through Iraq and Afghanistan but now we get to share that in another part and learn from them as well," Colonel Broadwater said.
The brigade will assume its mission in Africa in the spring of 2013 and will return in the summer of 2014.