Story by: Army Maj. Heba Bullock
3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
FORT IRWIN, California – The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “GREYWOLF”, 1st Cavalry Division with enablers from 100th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, “Task Force Heavy CAV” of 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 416th Civil Affairs Battalion and the 399th Psychological Operations Company, successfully completed a month long training rotation using the Army’s newest modernized equipment at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, April 4, 2022.
This decisive action training rotation utilized the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment as a highly skilled opposing force (OPFOR) that helped to provide realistic training for the GREYWOLF brigade. This training enabled the unit to hone their combat skills, put their modernized equipment to the test and overall grow as a unit by validating their synchronization between their staff and subordinate units.
“NTC proved we had an effective home station training plan and built a cohesive team. We enjoyed some successes early on in the rotation, serving as encouragement for the next mission,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Sinclair, commander of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. “The whole team fed off one another’s success. It was amazing to watch. With little prompting from me each platoon and staff section hit well above their weight, adding to the unit’s successes.”
The GREYWOLF Brigade focused on pushing its new modernized equipment to its limits, as well as challenging the operators, throughout the training to identify any gaps and successes in their overall training.
“Assault bridging was almost a lost art in the brigade combat teams up until the fielding of the Joint Assault Bridge (JAB),” said Lt. Col. James Startzell, commander of the 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion. “It’s really important that we continue to develop our operators and mechanics equally on this platform and invest in formal training and development of Noncommissioned Officers and Soldiers to support the long term viability of this critical piece of equipment.”
GREYWOLF’s 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion conducted their first JAB Combined Arms breach in June 2021, marking the first time in history that both an M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Tank and a M109A7 Paladin have crossed over the JAB.
“The SEPv3 proved extremely lethal in our NTC rotation. Our gunners bore-sighted daily and the updated and improved fire control system proved extremely accurate at long distances,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Sinclair, commander of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. “Our accuracy had an immediate impact on OPFOR tactics since they had difficulty closing the distance on us without being hit.”
GREYWOLF fielded the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Tank in the summer of 2020 and has conducted a vigorous and effective training plan for its crews and units in preparation for NTC Rotation 22-05 and future missions.
Overall, GREYWOLF departed NTC as a stronger and more lethal unit that is prepared and ready to take on its next mission.
“We are far more lethal and stronger than when we came to NTC,” said Staff Sgt. Cole Minnear, brigade Bradley master gunner. “It gave us an excellent opportunity to flex our systems both lethally and through sustainment. We are definitely prepared for any future operations to come.”