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Behind the scenes look at soldiers’ live fire training

Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 2:00 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - How do infantry soldiers train? We take a behind the scenes look on Fort Drum, where soldiers trained with live fire - simulating real war.

It’s loud and it’s intense. Live fire training on Fort Drum is meant to have a war-like feel to prepare soldiers for what they might see on the battlefield.

“This is something that we do over and over again because as an infantry battalion, we have our squads out here doing live fire exercises, which is really the fundamental drill that our soldiers need to be able to accomplish,” said Lt. Col. Josh Glonek, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment.

The live fire iteration starts off by soldiers entering the woods before making their way up towards the objective. Once in the woods, soldiers walk about 300 to 400 yards before coming out on the other side.

They open fire on targets across the field, and then the teams advance towards the objective. These soldiers will tell you training like this is a real adrenaline rush.

“That’s when it’s go time and you just get in that zone and you know what to do,” said Sgt. Trey Michael, team leader, 2-87 Infantry, 1st Platoon.

Part of the exercise is to take control of a building. An added element on Wednesday: the snowy weather.

“If we get into the next conflict, the sun’s not always going to be out. So, it’s good to train under these kinds of conditions,” said Sgt. Jesse Brennan, squad leader, 2-87 Infantry.

Part of the training is to become weather-hardened. These soldiers have been outside since Monday and they won’t be done until Friday. Some of the training happens at night.

“Forces them to...what are we bringing to our trinity size? What are we packing in our rucksacks? And how much equipment are we carrying? Because you have to be prepared for any condition, any time, 24/7,” said Lt. Col. Kamil Sztalkoper, 10th Mountain Division public affairs officer.

This is how you prepare a soldier - a 5-day rigorous training regiment. It’s crucial for soldiers because it’s the foundation for learning how to fight in the United States Army.

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