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Issue 97 Mar. 31, 2012

Serving the Soldiers, Civilians and Families of 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.

M9 competition boosts morale, improves skills of Soldiers Story and photos by Sgt. Ruth Pagán 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., PAO

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s the deployment begins to come to an end there is an ongoing campaign to fight complacency. When Soldiers get too comfortable or complacent accidents can happen and people could get hurt. As a way to improve morale and counteract complacency an M9 competition was held at Camp Nathan Smith, March 9. “We shot three courses of fire,” said Maj. Darren LoRé, the chief of operations for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who organized the event. “The first two stages were standing so everyone had to work all their pistol skills. They had to come from the holster, change magazines, engage targets, reload and engage targets. In the third stage, shooters had to do everything: present their pistol, reload and maneuver while shooting targets.”

Staff Sgt. Christopher Zimbalatti, a 385th MP liaison officer to 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., holds a time buzzer while Sgt. Joshua Crow, a team leader for the 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. Personal Security Detail, prepares his weapon to fire during an M9 shooting competition at CNS, March 9.

Spc. James Salyers, the squadron commander’s driver with 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., fires his weapon during an M9 competition at CNS, March 9. The competition consisted of three stages where the shooters were timed on how fast they could hit the targets. A shooter’s final score was the number of points divided by time.

The competition was open to anyone willing to participate. “We had 21 shooters from across the Combined Task Force Warhorse and eight units were represented here,” said Lt. Col. Dana Stowell, the brigade executive officer. “This was a really good opportunity for Soldiers to get together and have some competition while enhancing our war fighting skills.” “The participants ranged from beginners to advanced shooters,” said 1st Lt. Lee Robinson, the fire support officer for 561st Military Police Company attached to 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., who was the overall winner of the competition. “Regardless of Soldiers’ shooting backgrounds I think everyone had a good time.” “I wanted to make sure everyone was very comfortable with what they were doing,” LoRé said. The competition had a relaxed atmosphere with a heavy emphasis on safety. “We laid out a good safety brief and, with a course like this, you have an NCO range safety officer walking with you,” LoRé said. “So, if you have an issue they just stop you right there.” The event was meant to bring Soldiers

together as well as train in the form of friendly competition. “I really enjoyed the CNS pistol competition,” Robinson said. “Major LoRé set up a fun and realistic course. The competition was a good break in the weekly routine.” “I had a great time,” said Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Agustin, a medical operations NCO with the 445th Civil Affairs Detachment attached to 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., who won second place in the competition. “Morale events like this make a difference to Soldiers who need a break.” “Getting a chance to practice those perishable skills, to rehearse and do the things we would be called upon in combat, the better we are,” Stowell said. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Sgt. Margaret Stokes, a geo spatial analyst with Company A, Cryptology Support Team 26 attached to 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “I think even state side we should do competitions like this, especially since it gets Soldiers acclimated to weapons they don’t normally use.” “It really was counter complacency,” said LoRe. “It is important for us to be proficient with our side arm. When you’re in a gun fight, time is critical so you need to be very quick with your pistol. If you practice you will get faster.”


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Warhorse Pride

Issue 97 Mar. 31, 2012

‘Everyday is one day closer’ Story and photo by Sgt. April York 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., PAO

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ot every job in the Army is glamorous, but every job is necessary. Spc. Desire Chavarria, a member of the female engagement team assigned to “Assassins,” 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, spends her days during deployment to Afghanistan going out on missions and helping keep her company’s combat outpost running. “On a typical day I wake up, eat, help out around the COP, go out on a mission or pull tower guard,” Chavarria said. Helping around the COP is a job all Soldiers do. Because the COP is small, Soldiers are responsible for keeping their living areas neat and clean. Chavarria said she usually helps wash the dishes, pick up trash, wash the showers, and fill-up the water points. Chavarria is one of three women who live on the COP Jannat, which is home to a company size element. Living on a small COP has its advantages and disadvantages. The small size creates a strong sense of team and camaraderie. However, having enough personnel to keep everything up and running can be a challenge, but Chavarria and the other women on the COP are

willing to do their share of the hard work. “We told (the guys in the company) when we got here not to treat us any differently,” Chavarria said. “We may be women but we are Soldiers and that’s the bottom line.” During deployment Chavarria has been conducting patrols to interact with women in the surrounding communities. “Our goal as members of FET is to go to different villages and see what the women need, and encourage them to bring these issues up to their government so they can get the help that they need,” Chavarria said. When she thinks back on her previous missions a smile breaks out across her face. “Being able to see a small part of what is going on here is great – observing their culture and seeing how they live.” Sometimes the experience can be a double edged sword though. “It’s amazing to see all of this and at the same time it’s sad to see the poverty of the women and children,” she said. “A lot of the time the women ask us for medical supplies for headaches and general pain relief, which we cannot legally give them.” The missions can be disappointing from time to time, but that doesn’t stop Chavarria from wanting to help out. “I know it’s hard and discouraging

Spc. Desire Chavarria, a member of the female engagement team with 1st Bn., 67th AR, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., searches for any signs of trouble that may be approaching COP Jannat during her guard tower shift. Because the COP is small, Chavarria and her teammates are responsible for keep it up and running.

Warhorse Pride Col. John S. Kolasheski...................2nd BCT Commander Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Delosa..............2nd BCT CSM Maj. Kevin Toner................................................2nd BCT PAO Sgt. Seth Barham..................................................PAO NCOIC Sgt. Ruth Pagan......................................Layout and Design Sgt. April York.........................................Layout and Design

The Warhorse Pride is produced in the interest of the Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The Warhorse Pide is an Army-funded newsletter authorized under provision of AR 360-1. Contents of the Warhorse Pride are not necessarily the view of, nor endorsed by the U.S. government, Department of Defense, Department of the Army or the 4th Infantry Division. All editorial content of The Warhorse Pride is prepared, edited, provided and approved by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public

Spc. Desire Chavarria, a member of the female engagement team with 1st Bn., 67th AR, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., reflects back on memories of her son and smiles during an interview at COP Jannat. Chavarria is serving a 12 month deployment in Afghanistan and her mission is to interact with women in the surrounding communities to find out what they need and to help them understand the process of going through their government to have their needs met.

when we want to help them and we can’t give them what they need, but just being able to get out there and give them a little bit of knowledge on how they can try and get the help they need makes it worth it for me.” Maintaining a positive attitude can be tough when the days are long and routine has slipped into “Groundhog Day” mode, but Chavarria makes it through by thinking of her son. “Everyday is one day closer to going home to my son,” she said with a bit of a glow on her face. “He is the light of my life—he is my life.” Affairs Office. The Warhorse Pride welcomes articles, commentary and photos from readers. The Warhorse Pride reserves the right to edit submissions selected for the publication. All issues of The Warhorse Pride can be viewed online from your home computer at www.facebook. com/2bct4id Submissions should be e-mailed to the editor: seth.barham@afghan.swa.army.mil


Warhorse Pride