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NEWS | March 5, 2018

Red Dragons conduct individual, squad-level training at Pickett during March drill

By Sgt. Marc Heaton | 29th Infantry Division

Approximately 800 Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducted training on individual skills and squad-level tactics March 2-4, 2018, at Fort Pickett, Virginia.

The Red Dragons conducted  a number of training events, including individual weapons qualification, heavy weapons familiarization, sniper sustainment and qualification, air operations and squad movement tactics. Aviation crews from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division provided support for air operations training with UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

“We’re excited to be in the field ramping up maneuvers leading up to our annual training this summer,” said Lt. Col. Art Moore, battalion commander of 1-116th. “We’re focused on building our readiness to ‘fight tonight,’ in terms of being ready to quickly respond when needed.”

The battalion returned last year from a nine-month deployment to Qatar and is currently focused at the squad level, with a parallel staff training focus that will culminate with participation in a brigade-level Warfighter exercise in July.

“With us just coming off a deployment, we’re really getting to know one another again.  We’re getting back to basic field craft,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Irving N. Reed, Jr., the battalion command sergeant major.

While the majority of the weekend’s training events focused on individual and squad tactics, the battalion’s heavy weapons company, the Lynchburg-based Delta Company, had the opportunity to conduct familiarization training on some new equipment.

“We fielded the new Crew-served Remote Operated Weapons System just this past year,” said Capt. Asa Miller, Delta Company commander.  “We’re really excited to have this state-of-the-art system.”

The new system allows Soldiers to remotely operate their vehicle-mounted, crew-served weapons from inside the vehicle.  It also provides advanced optics and is compatible with all crew-served weapons systems currently in service.

“The CROWS system enhances our lethality and support by fire capabilities,” said Miller.

Though the battalion just recently returned from a deployment, the goal is still the same, to be ready to fight when called.

“We’re exercising our missile, mortar, and sniper systems, and training small unit fire and maneuver at night in austere conditions, and seeing great results so far,” said Moore. “I couldn’t be more proud of the Red Dragons and how they continue to meet and exceed expectations.”

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