Soldiers assigned to 1st and 2nd battalions of the 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, recently completed Noble Bastogne, an air assault exercise that measured their proficiency as a unit.
Noble Bastogne included vertical envelopment, a tactical maneuver allowing soldiers to be transported behind enemy lines in such a way that prevents enemy forces from retreating and enables a more effective attack.
“The purpose is to get after the large-scale combat operations, there’s a whole brigade’s worth of effort that’s gone into this training and this is a great opportunity for the brigade to exercise a battalion-level air assault,” said Capt. Wessley Sickman, Alpha Company, 2-327th Inf. Regt. commander. “Testing soldiers as individuals is just as important as testing a whole brigade on their functionality, one Soldier’s mistake could change everything.”
Air Assault missions measure the capabilities of a unit based on the Screaming Eagle Big 6, the fundamental skills all soldiers assigned to the 101st Abn. Div. must maintain and continue to improve upon.
The Big 6 include physical training, weapon proficiency, battle tasks and warrior drills, medical skills and equipment maintenance.
The Screaming Eagle Big 6 ensures 101st soldiers are tactically proficient and lethal, capable of accomplishing any mission set given.
Exercises like these test unit proficiencies and ensure they are up to the Screaming Eagle standard.
Using the support from other battalions made the training possible, Sickman said. It also improved the functionality between units who may not perform in joint training frequently.
“Getting to see how the soldiers adapt and how they work with others shows the caliber of the soldiers that I’m working with and the caliber of soldiers who are in the brigade,” said Sgt. Richard Mchowski, a squad leader Alpha Co. 2-327th Inf. Regt.
During Noble Bastogne, soldiers also coordinated and conducted ground tactical movements during the late hours of the night to test the soldiers’ ability to function under low-visibility and high-stress situations. Training under such conditions provides real-world scenarios to identify areas of opportunity for soldier improvement that helps focus unit training in areas needed.
“You get to see the flaws within your peers whether it’s a different squad, different company, whatever, it helps you identify areas of weakness that can be improved on,” Mchowski said. “Even the lowest private can look back and see where they need to improve to affect the outcome of a mission.”