GAROUA, Cameroon – The 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) security forces from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is currently providing security for Task Force Talon at Contingency Location Garoua in Cameroon.
Leading the effort is Cobra Company, which rotates forces each day, to serve as a quick reaction force to respond to emergencies on and off base.
While its primary mission is force protection, Cobra Co. is maximizing training opportunities in a very limited environment to maintain readiness and Soldier proficiency.
“Due to the remote location and restricted training facilities, the leaders of TF Talon are taking advantage of any opportunities to maintain readiness,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Orders, the TF Talon noncommissioned officer in charge.
Over 80 Cobra Co. Soldiers were trained utilizing the Army’s Expert Infantryman Badge in weapons operation, medical tasks, patrol tasks and physical fitness Oct. 5 through Oct. 6, to sustain Soldier skills during deployment in Cameroon.
“It’s basically for Soldiers to show that they know their job,” said Spc. Ernesto Jimenez from the TF Talon QRF. “The train up requires you to do constant repetitions of each task until you can do it correctly.”
Second Lt. Lukas Miniutti, an infantry platoon leader and officer in charge of the event said, “Each infantryman truly has to master each skill and learns the coaching cues for training along the way. A Soldier with an EIB has led by example and can, in turn, begin to mentor the next wave of infantrymen hoping to earn their own badge.”
While each task in the EIB is important, Soldiers still have their favorites.
“I think the easiest event was the M320 or the M2 (.50-caliber machine gun). An M320 is a 40 mm grenade launcher, semi-automatic that shoots one round,” Pvt. Qwilliarn Trevino said. “I love it and I’m trained and proficient on it.”
TF Talon service members are serving in a support role for the Cameroonian military’s fight against the violent extremist organization Boko Haram.