Live fire training focuses on urban warfare

Soldiers in the buddy live fire exercise run for cover after the mock grenade explodes at the Malone Complex Oct. 14. (Photo Credit: Gerald Williams)

Soldiers in the buddy live fire exercise run for cover after the mock grenade explodes at the Malone Complex Oct. 14. (Photo Credit: Gerald Williams)

By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /

FORT BENNING, Ga., (Oct. 19, 2016) — Soldiers in 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment trained in a buddy live fire exercise as part of One Station Unit Training at the Malone Complex Oct. 14 to increase proficiency in urban warfare.

Sgt. 1st Class Frank Soto, an instructor with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, stated the exercise has grown over the years to accommodate a more urban way of fighting.

“Now we use several different fire positions, compared to when I came in,” said Soto. “Soldiers know a whole lot more than I did fifteen years ago. They’re lethal and advanced now more than ever.”

Soto added that combat today is more conventional, more urban and is more city oriented fighting compared to fifteen years ago when combat was more open or in the woods.

“The exercise builds confidence for Soldiers maneuvering and communicating in a buddy team size element,” said Staff Sgt. Kenton Gottshall, F Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment.

Gottshall stated the exercise was part of One Station Unit Training. Soldiers were on week eight of their 14-week training curriculum.

According to Soto, a mock grenade would be thrown to signal the start of the exercise simulating contact from the enemy. Once the mock grenade goes off, a team of two Soldiers would approach and take cover at a designated position on the field.

After they identify the enemy in distance and direction, they would engage in live fire combat with targets on the field using M4 carbines. Soldiers would continue to move up the field until they closed the distance between them and the enemy at a designated marker.

“This teaches them teamwork, it teaches them how to shoot, it teaches them how to move and it teaches them how to communicate from each position,” said Soto. “They also learn how to seek cover, where to look for cover and different positions to shoot from cover.”

Soto stated that the biggest challenge for Soldiers is knowing what your teammate is doing without directly seeing them.

“They have to be able to trust that the guy to their left or right is actually doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Soto. “When a Soldier says that they’re set and are covering you, you have to trust that’s exactly what they’re doing. A lot of Soldiers have a tough time trusting without looking to see if they’re battle buddy is actively covering their movement.

“This exercise develops future leaders because you can see which Soldiers are technically and tactically strong,” said Soto. “When you see that they are proficient in something, you can develop them even further to help the Soldiers who are struggling in the exercise.”

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