FORT KNOX, KY (Sgt. Jeffrey S. Moore) – Approximately 800 special operations Rangers from 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, from Fort Benning, Ga.; 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, from Fort Campbell, Ky., and Air Force Special Operations Command from Hurlburt Field, Fla., conducted annual live-fire training at Fort Knox, Ky., from April 13-28.
The 75th Ranger Regiment is a lethal, agile and versatile special operations force that conducts forcible entry operations and raids across the entire spectrum of combat.
In order to maintain their global dominance, Rangers conduct various training exercises throughout the year to hone their skill set. The unit’s exercise is an annual requirement that each battalion must conduct prior to their deployment.
“In preparation for our next deployment, the battalion started training from the ground up,” said Capt. George Puryear, a platoon leader with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “We began after we returned from our last deployment starting with individual tasks; these tasks included individual marksmanship and physical fitness.”
After returning from each deployment, the Ranger battalion begins working on the basics again. New recruits and leaders arrive to the unit and must learn to work as a cohesive unit. Numerous hours are spent on airborne operations, live-fire ranges and squad, platoon, and company-level rehearsals and exercises.
Normally conducted out of Fort Benning, this year’s battalion training exercise was conducted at Fort Knox, Ky., which offered numerous ranges and different scenarios for the Rangers.
During the two week training, Rangers conducted numerous squad and platoon level rehearsals prior to conducting their live-fire exercises. They also utilized the small-arms ranges, conducted fast rope insertion/extraction special purpose operations (FRIES), shoot house areas, and villages similar to what they may see in Afghanistan. This training provides Rangers with skills necessary to perform raids in areas of conflict.
“During this exercise we were working on platoon and company level training. We assessed our strengths and weaknesses to better prepare for out next deployment,” said Puryear.
These platoon and company level operations will test each Ranger’s knowledge of not only their individual tasks, but the tasks of the entire unit and supporting elements.
“As the platoon leader, I am looking at the platoon’s ability to synchronize fires and effects. This is our ability to utilize indirect fire such as mortars, and close combat aerial attack helicopters,” said Puryear.
The aircraft involved includes helicopters such as Little Birds (AH-6), Black Hawks (MH-60), and Chinooks (MH-47); and, AC-130 Hercules, and C-17 Globemaster airplanes and other fixed wing aircraft capable of moving troops and providing close air support.
By the end of the exercise, Special Operations Soldiers are proficient in incorporating all of the skills acquired during the training to perform a simulated raid. The Ranger platoon and air support elements worked together to successfully complete their mission.