FORT BLISS, Texas – "It demonstrates the firepower, precision, and lethality of an Armored Brigade Combat Team," said U.S. Army Col. Robert Bumgardner, commander, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard, when describing the Combined Arms Live-Fire Exercise (CALFX).
Delta-Troop, 1-150th Cavalry Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, participated in the CALFX near Fort Bliss, Texas, Sept. 20. Crews operating the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, mortars and M109 Paladins exercised their weapons' capabilities on one of the largest military training ranges in the United States.
"We had a tank company in the fight, with mortars and a field artillery battery in support," said Bumgardner. "The scenario included a passage of lines through the scout platoons, moving forward to destroy the enemy."
The CALFX was the culminating event for the unit, as it is mobilized to support Operation Spartan Shield in the Middle East. The tank crews had to meet the table gunnery requirements before advancing to the complexities of the live-fire.
Throughout the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team's training at Fort Bliss, members received support and assistance from First Army, serving as observers, controllers and advisers.
Joining the CALFX was U.S. Army Col. Jacob Larkowich, commander 188th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, observing to assist with any safety measures.
"This event is the unit's opportunity to execute all of the skills they've built upon," said Larkowich.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Clifford Brackman, commander 1-150th Cavalry Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, said the tanks in the CALFX were supported by unit sections with 125 mm mortar fire and 155 mm cannons from field artillery.
"Any chance they have to launch rounds downrange, they are fired-up," said Brackman when describing the morale of his Soldiers.
Bumgardner equated the importance of readiness and proficiency of these crews to how U.S. armored forces performed during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
"While technology may have advanced since the tank battles in the Gulf War, one thing has never changed and that is the lethality, physical toughness, and mental resolve of the U.S. Soldier in combat," said Bumgardner.
Brackman said the training ranges and facilities at Fort Bliss have been outstanding for his Soldiers. He said they always look forward to any opportunity to demonstrate their military proficiency and skills.
"This is how commanders build trust in their troops," said Brackman. "We know these Soldiers are ready for their mission and combat."
The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team includes units from the North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio Army National Guard. They will support Task Force Spartan in training and helping host nation partners in the Middle East maintain stability in the region.