Soldiers overcome training challenges through teamwork

Soldiers of B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, move toward their objective point as part of their weeklong field training exercise July 3-8. (Photos by Lindsay Marchello)

Soldiers of B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, move toward their objective point as part of their weeklong field training exercise July 3-8. (Photos by Lindsay Marchello)

By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /

Soldiers of B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, participated in a weeklong field training exercise July 3-8, as a culmination of their basic training.

Pvt. D'Angelo Cooper, B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, gets into position to launch a squad attack against the opposing force. (Photos by Lindsay Marchello)

Pvt. D’Angelo Cooper, B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, gets into position to launch a squad attack against the opposing force.

The Soldiers performed several types of operations, including squad attacks, ambushes and patrol base activities throughout the day and night.

Despite some interference from a few thunderstorms, the Soldiers completed their objectives.

“The storm messed up the timeline. It got them out of the field-mode mentality,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Catron, drill sergeant. “But they did well.”

A swamp also impacted the difficulty of the exercise, but provided an opportunity for Soldiers to overcome the challenge.

“The swamp was rough,” said Pvt. Kolby Smith. “It took some time to get through.”

The drill sergeants acted as squad leaders during the exercise and provided guidance.

“Our drill sergeant helped us out of that swamp,” said Pvt. Alan Scott. “It was cool.”

Pvt. Garrett Cotten and Pvt. Colby Caron, B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, wait for the signal to fire on the opposing force during a field training exercise. (Photos by Lindsay Marchello)

Pvt. Garrett Cotten and Pvt. Colby Caron, B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, wait for the signal to fire on the opposing force during a field training exercise.

The field training exercises inspired Soldiers to work together.

“We’re taking care of each other out here, and looking out for our guys,” said Smith.

“We’ve got more team chemistry,” said Pvt. Anthony Pollice.

Some Soldiers had the opportunity to lead during the exercises, because the drill sergeants chose Soldiers to be squad and team leaders. Sgt. 1st Class David Bennett explained that they choose Soldiers who display an initiative to help others and an instinct to lead.

“We also switch out (squad leaders) with Soldiers who aren’t used to leading to get them out of their comfort zone,” said Bennett. “If they’re struggling, they get assigned as team leaders instead.”

“It’s not too bad having this leadership role,” said Pvt. Michael Brandon, a squad leader for 1st Platoon. “I feel confident in my ability, and my teammates know what they are doing.”

One of the exercises that 1st Platoon participated in was a squad attack on an opposing force. The Soldiers executed the squad attack successfully.

“The FTX is designed to be challenging,” said Lt. Col. Sam Edwards, commander of 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment. “The Soldiers are out all day and night, and sleep becomes limited.”

The FTX ended with a tactical movement to Honor Hill, where a ceremony was held to celebrate the Soldiers completing their Infantry training. The B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Graduation is from 9 to 10 a.m. July 22.

“Being this close feels surreal,” said Smith.

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