Saturday, October 25, 2008

Commanding tanks in the field!

I just got back from a week of Armor STX (Simulated Training eXercises).  It was INCREDIBLE!  I and the other LT's in the class filled various roles in three separate tank platoons.  We did everything from planning and commanding platoon missions, to driving the actual tanks.

Let me tell you, I thought it was fun taking my old 1995 Pathfinder off road, but it's NOTHING compared to driving a 67 ton tank, with a 1500 horse power jet turbine engine, across "undulating terrain" at up to 45 miles per hour.

Also, there are few things as exhilarating as pulling up into a support by fire position and suppressing an enemy defensive battle position, and on command watching your bravo section assault across the objective, spewing dirt trails behind them as they destroy the entire enemy platoon.

As far as spending time in the field is concerned, being on a tank has its advantage.  The exhaust from the port at the rear of the tank reaches a temperature of around 800 degrees Fahrenheit. At a distance of about 12 feet, a group of shivering Armor/Cavalry LT's can get warmed up real quick on a chilly October morning.  Also, the back deck of the tank (where the power pack is housed) retains heat for hours and hours - it's a GREAT place to lay out your sleeping bag on a cold evening.

This experience here is incredible - we are somewhere between exhaustion and elation at any given moment.

Here are a few memorable moments from the STX:
  • Observing an LT throw rocks at a skunk as it wandered among our lines of tanks, because he didn't want it to sleep under his tank.
  • Hearing CPT Stierwalt drop artillery sims in our TAA in the wee hours of the morning
  • Every time an LT drive (myself included) hit the brakes a little too hard, and hearing everyone over the intercom curse as they slammed into the gunner's sight/TC's .50 mount/front of the loader's hatch.

1 comment:

Ben said...

It really doesn't get much more bad ass from here Stewart...Rock on!