Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)
Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)
U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)
Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)
U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)
An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)
U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)
Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Being prepared for stressful combat situations could mean the difference between living and dying. To test their preparedness, Soldiers on Forward Operating Base Shank competed in a “stress shoot” March 11.
Pathfinder Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Knighthawk, based out of Fort Drum, N.Y., participated in the competition.
Army pathfinders are experts in navigating foreign terrain to establish safe landing zones for aircraft and airborne and air assault Soldiers, according to an Army pathfinder school website.
The stress shoot tests the Soldiers’ ability to shoot their weapons after navigating through a variety of physically challenging events. To make the challenge more realistic, the Soldiers had to wear full battle rattle – helmets and body armor.
“We ran from our ready tent, which is close to the flight line, all the way down to this range,” said U.S. Army Pfc. Will Whitehead, an Infantryman of Company F, 2nd Bn., TF Knighthawk, from Lynchburg, Va. “Then, we did a 25-meter tire flip (and) then dragged the Skedco (litter) another 25 meters.”
Following the physical challenges, the Soldiers shot their rifles at targets on the range, firing 10 rounds from a kneeling position and 10 rounds standing, said Whitehead. Finally, the stress shoot participants had to carry ammo cans from the first firing point on the range to the last point, shoot at the M9 targets and then take the ammo cans to the finish line.
Whitehead, who recently returned to FOB Shank from Environmental Morale Leave (EML), said he felt the physically draining effects of the event. Despite just coming back, Whitehead and his battle buddy completed the event and felt good about it afterward.
“It was pretty tough. I got out of shape, especially on leave. I mean, even for my buddy, he was breathing pretty hard too,” said Whitehead. “(During) the stress shoot, (it) was hard to keep my heart rate low. I wasn’t shooting too well when I was kneeling. When I was standing, I got my rhythm back and controlled my breathing better.”
Participants agreed the tire flip was the most physically demanding task during the stress shoot. Along with thinking and reacting for possible future combat, the Soldiers noticed they accomplished an underlining objective.
“The run and the heavy tire with the rim in it put a lot of stress on you (physically),” said U.S. Army Pfc. Stephen Moore, an infantryman with Co. F, 2nd Bn., TF Knighthawk, from Fort Drum N.Y. “The Skedco pull required us to work as a team the whole time, which is the main thing they tried to accomplish here ... building teamwork. We never know when we will be called up to do missions, so we have to be ready.”
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jason Taylor, a 2nd Bn., TF Knighthawk, squad leader from San Antonio, organized the event. Taylor wanted to see what his Soldiers could do under stressful conditions.
Taylor wanted to get more out of the Pathfinder Soldiers than just to see them physically pushed to the brink. He understands fighting a war is not easy. He made that clear for the shooters during the weapons-firing portion of the event.
“In combat you don’t shoot in a perfect scenario, you’re always tired,” said Taylor. “This was here to put that stress on them and to show them how to control their breathing. We worked on team building and being used to shooting with a full kit on while in stressful conditions.”
Taylor was happy with what he saw. Just like any other training event, Taylor will use this as a building block for the participants.
“They’re doing pretty good,” said Taylor. “They’ve got little things to work on with their shooting, but over all they are doing good.”
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