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Apr 15, 2010 10:07 PM by Andy Koen

Army rolls out heavy fire power for exercise

There was some heavy fire power on display at the ranges of Fort Carson Thursday.  Multiple companies of M1 Abrams Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and ground troops associated with 1st Battalion 67th Armor Regiment all joined forces in the live fire exercise.

Along with the heavy ground force, the Army's Apache Helicopters and F-16's from the Air Force were also brought in for air support.

Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Michael Simmering said the idea is to recreate a realistic battlefield environment.

"We like to train to muscle memory," Simmering explained. "These situations they encounter here, we like to know they're going to react properly if these situations occur in real life."

The exercise is a culmination of several months' worth of preparation.  Given the urban warfare environment soldiers face in Iraq and Afghanistan, they don't spend much time training for a traditional ground war.

Sergeant First Class Michael Bushman said it was good to rehearse the skill set involved in this type of training.

"We've got to kind of kick the cobwebs off, go back to the old Cold War Era (style of fighting) with uniformed soldiers and armored gun systems coming across the border."

In fact, SFC Robbie Stanton had been to Iraq three times and Afghanistan twice as a ground soldier. Yet this was his first time in firing exercise like this.

"To witness the live rounds going down range from both the (25mm rounds)on the Bradley and the main gun on the tanks was freakin' awesome."

Lt. Col. Simmering says the Army has to be ready for any type of combat and exercise like this help his soldiers keep their traditional battlefield skills sharply tuned.

"No matter what type of force, we need to be capable of winning."

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