Operation Workhorse Stampede Four companies from 127th ASB train to defend base
By Ismael E. Ortega, Mobilization and Deployment, DPTMS Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, April. 13, 2017) OROGRANDE, N.M. – The 127th Aviation Support Battalion, nicknamed the “Workhorse,” provides direct support, logistics and maintenance to the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, but Soldiers from the battalion honed their tactical skills during Operation Workhorse Stampede here March 15 through 24.
Soldiers from the “Hellhounds,” “Outlaws,” “Banditos” and “Warriors,” the four companies from the 127th ASB, immersed themselves in an austere environment and went from their traditional combat support roles to the front lines and executed convoy missions, casualty evacuations and perimeter defense operations.
“The purpose of the exercise was to work on our tactical Army skills. As a support battalion we’re very good at the technical aspect of what we do whether its fixing aircraft, fixing vehicles, pushing fuel or setting up an (information technology) infrastructure,” said Lt. Col. Kyle M. Hogan, commander, 127th ASB, CAB, 1st AD. “This gave us the opportunity to go to the field with about half the battalion to execute the tactical Army warfighting functions that we don’t get a chance to hone in very often.”
After the battalion established an area of operations they covered infantry tactics, manned entry control points and practiced searching and detaining personnel.
“It’s important because we may be a support battalion, but we always have to be ready for the fight because you never know if it’s going to get to us too,” said Spc. Gary Holland, an allied trade specialist assigned to Company B, 127th ASB, CAB, 1st AD. “We did a lot of missions like you would if you were deployed and did training on live fires, holding a forward operating position in the desert and sustaining ourselves.”
More than 300 Soldiers from the logistics, administrative, mechanics and IT fields took part in the operation, which culminated in a base-defense live-fire and night-fire portion supported by UH-60 Black Hawks and AH-64 Apaches. During this event, Soldiers reacquainted themselves with crew-served weapons and night vision equipment.
Spc. Marley Lindo, an ammunition specialist assigned to Company A, 127th ASB, CAB, 1st AD, had the opportunity to step outside of his typical role and was able to fire the .50 caliber machine gun.
“The base defense live-fire and getting to shoot the (.50 caliber machine gun) was fun,” Lindo said. “The night fire portion and getting to know more about our battle buddies was really fun also.”
Unlike other units on the installation, the 127th ASB doesn’t go to the National Training Center, located at Fort Irwin, California, so an exercise such as this helps the leaders evaluate the combat readiness of the troops.
“A lot of the Soldiers were exposed to something that they have not seen in the past so it was a good opportunity to train, mentor, and develop junior leaders in all levels which was a sub component of what we were trying to do,” Hogan said. “The exercise went very well. The Soldiers were provided with an opportunity to do something that they don’t get to do every day. Their skills were honed to allow them to be successful in the event that we had to deploy.”
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