Story by LTC Cynthia King on 09/17/2019It's been said, "choose a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." There are variations of this quote, but the meaning behind it is clear, a good job is hard to beat.
This sentiment resonated with U.S. Soldiers from Delta Troop, 1-150th Cavalry Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, during their M1A1 Abrams Main Battle tank training in the vicinity of Fort Bliss, Texas, Sept. 16, 2019.
"It's a tight group and a great unit," said U.S. Army First Sgt. Raul Delacerda, First Sgt. of Delta Troop, 1-150th Cavalry Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team. "In my experience, there's always comradery in a tank unit."
The National Guard unit, headquartered in Sanford, North Carolina, was conducting Armament Accuracy Checks (AACs) and bore sight procedures with their M1 Abrams tanks. This training is part of the Live Fire Accuracy Screening Test (L-FAST) prior to their Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFX).
"Unit morale has been outstanding," said Delacerda. "Our priorities have been focused on safety, ensuring all fire commands are set, and taking commands from the tower."
According to U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Chris Brophy, master gunner in Delta Troop, 1-150th Cavalry Regiment, the range facilities around Fort Bliss, Texas have been challenging and realistic. He added that the crews have enjoyed the rigorous and tough training that goes with being a tanker.
"The ranges have been fantastic and the crews love that sense of accomplishment, seeing the results of their hard work," said Brophy. "They have cultivated a great attitude of team work and the culture in our unit is one of the best I've seen."
In agreement with Brophy was U.S. Army Sgt. Jared Gowens, a tank commander in Delta Troop, who moved to the North Carolina Army National Guard to become a 19K Military Occupational Skill (MOS) Armor Crewmember.
"I always wanted to be a tanker," said Gowens. "Everything has been great and the guys really care about what they are doing. Whenever people care, things go smooth."
Brophy, whose role as a master gunner includes ensuring ranges are conducted safety as well as advising the commander on training protocols, said that Soldiers who work in the Armor career field are outstanding problem solvers. He added that being a tanker combines technical and tactical skills and appeals to those who enjoy being outside in a rugged environment.
"You become very familiar with everybody because we live on our tanks," said Brophy. "It's a fun place to be, as we work hard and play hard, and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Delta Troop Soldiers are part of the 1-150th Cavalry Regiment, headquartered with the West Virginia Army National Guard, in the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, and were recently mobilized to support Operation Spartan Shield in the Middle East.
"We are building on increased combat lethality and sustaining survivability on the battlefield, said Brophy. "We are ensuring our crews are fast, accurate, precise, and deadly to engage any enemy in any environment."
According to Delacerda, many Soldiers in Delta Troop have had multiple deployments and are mentoring the Soldiers who have not deployed.
"It's tough leaving home, it's one of the toughest things to do," said Delacerda. "Our guys who have deployed before want to help and will ensure everyone is taken care of."
The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team includes Soldiers from the North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia Army National Guard who will support Task Force Spartan. Operation Spartan Shield builds partner capacity in the Middle East to promote regional self-reliance and increase security. Task Force Spartan strengthens these relationships through key leader engagements, joint exercises, conferences, symposia, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response planning.