FORT BENNING, GA – In preparation for deployment, Rangers of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment recently conducted a live fire training exercise utilizing Fort Benning’s new Digital Multipurpose Range Complex.
There are a number of benefits to training on this range according to Lt. Col. Mark O’Donnell, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment battalion commander.
“In a lot of cases, our Rangers have seen most of the ranges on Fort Benning and the DMPRC is one range that nobody has seen before,” said O’Donnell. “This is the first time our platoons have ever been on this range and in a lot of ways it’s going to challenge them as leaders.”
The battalion is deployed frequently and always looking for ways to get quality training without having to leave Fort Benning. The live fire exercise is the capstone training exercise of several training events conducted over the course of the year.
“This is the final training event prior to our deployment and we try to make it as extreme and as focused as we can,” said Maj. Patrick Stone, C Company Commander, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “It also gives the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant the opportunity to control their platoon under live fire conditions with all the attachments they would receive in combat.”
For the new Ranger, who just completed the Regiment’s rigorous Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, this type of training is paramount.
“Rangers are absolutely going to gain confidence, especially for a new Ranger to know what it’s like to have a weapon system engaging a target, 15 degrees in front of him,” said Stone. “He will know what that feels like, what it looks like during the day and night; what kind of target feedback you are going to get when a bullet actually strikes a target. It gives the Rangers an accurate picture of what a real-world combat mission is going to be like.”
In addition to providing Rangers realistic training, live fires also prepare platoon leadership for handling all the assets they will have in combat.
“A platoon leader has to control his maneuver element, a near fight, a deep fight, control rotary wing aircraft as they engage and simultaneously control indirect fires,” said Stone. “As well as de-conflicting both the ground fight and the air fight at the same time; it is extremely complex all the way across the battlefield—in the air and across the full spectrum of enablers he has to be successful.”
“The live fire training is invaluable because it is the synchronization of assets and understanding the effects of these weapons they take to combat with them,” said O’Donnell. “This training is also about understanding weapons capabilities and how closely you can fire these various ordnances to troops.”
“Several weeks from now, we can say, as a battalion, we are trained and prepared for deployment,” said O’Donnell. “This training event is the last platoon live fire training opportunity these platoons will have prior to doing this for real on an objective in Afghanistan.”
As part of the battalion’s live fire training, the Rangers also tested a training compound the 75th Ranger Regiment built as a permanent fixture on the DMPRC that any unit on post will have the opportunity to utilize.
“It’s essentially a compound that resembles what we are seeing in Afghanistan and hardened to deal with live fire training; it is fairly versatile in nature and will help us do more training here on Fort Benning,” said Lt. Col. Jay Bartholomees, Regimental Executive Officer, 75th Ranger Regiment. “The Rangers and the platoon can assault an objective similar to what they will see in combat.”
The DMPRC is a value-added asset to the Regiment’s training program.
“This is a unique range, obviously focused on maneuver live fire and built for the Armor Center but the Ranger Regiment benefits from a digital multipurpose range like this because of the unique targetry and the after action review benefits that come out of the camera systems,” said Bartholomees.
As with any type of training, safety and execution of the battalion’s live fire event is an absolute priority. The unit works closely with range control as well as Fort Benning safety in developing and executing these exercises.
“It is crucial that we go through every precautionary measure to ensure that systems are in place and our Rangers understand the constraints of the range,” said Bartholomees. “The preparation and safety considerations that go into putting together this maneuver live fire are what ultimately will make this event a success.”
“The excellent support that the Fort Benning staff and range contractors provided to us in developing our live fire training will inevitably save Rangers lives in combat,” added Bartholomees.