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Polar bear newsletter 21 nov 13

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  • 1. Polar Bear Tracks EDITION V OCT/NOV 13 4TH BATTALION, 31ST INFANTRY REGIMENT NEWS F O R T D R U M, N Y Dear Family and Friends of the Polar Bears, Drawing by SPC Michael Stone of A/4-31 INSIDE THIS ISSUE : LTC/CSM’s LETTER 1 FRSA NEWS 2 HHC 6 BRAVO COMPANY 8 In late October we conducted our 31 mile foot march to honor our Regiment and the veterans who have served before us. We were honored to have Mr. John Mims, a survivor of the Bataan Death March during World War II, Mr. Jack Considine and Mr. Ed Bettis, both served in 4-31 IN during the Korean War, and Mr. Daniel Wood and Mr. Dennis Walker, both received the Distinguished Service Cross while serving with 6 -31 IN during the Vietnam War. Your Soldiers represented the Battalion well as we honored these living Legends by completing the 31 mile foot march in the worst conditions imaginable. 3 ALPHA COMPANY Since the end of Cadet Summer Training 2013, the Polar Bears have shown great determination and focus on improving their ability to meet current and future missions. Immediately following our late Summer Block leave, Alpha and Charlie Company supported 10th Sustainment Brigade during their Muleskinner Peak. Alpha and Charlie Company Soldiers did a phenomenal job in supporting the Muleskinners on short notice. The Soldiers provided Observer Control/Trainer teams to coach, teach, and mentor the Muleskinners during their Convoy live fires and provided safeties and range support to ensure that the training was executed safely and efficiently. Following this training our Companies conducted several marksmanship ranges in preparation for team live fires before the Winter Holiday Block leave. CHARLIE COMPANY 10 DELTA COMPANY 12 FOX COMPANY 13 CHAPLAIN 16 As we look ahead to the holiday season here at Fort Drum, we hope that you are able to take advantage of the beautiful winter weather in the North Country. Please remember to take care of each other and carefully consider the risks involved with all your winter activities. In closing, we’re an organization that continues to thrive in uncertainty based on our fortitude and self confidence. I could not be more proud of being a member of such an incredible organization of professional soldiers, Noncommissioned Officers, and Officers. There’s no doubt that we will continue to succeed, regardless of the mission. Everyday, we will continue to live by our motto “Pro Patria”. Thank you for all that you do for the Soldiers of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, our Families, and the United States of America! Pro Patria!!! Stallworth - Polar Bear 7 JAMES A. STALLWORTH Command Sergeant Major, USA Battalion Command Sergeant Major Dicks - Polar Bear 6 ROLAND H. DICKS Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry Battalion Commander
  • 2. FORT DRUM, NY FRSA NEWS Dates to Remember Page 2 Volunteers 08-11 Nov: Veteran’s Day DONSA 13-15 Nov: 2BCT Reintegration Week 13 Nov: Command-O-Lympics 15 Nov: 2BCT Reintegration Ceremony 0900, Wheeler Sack 15 Nov: 2BCT Ball - Commons 21 Nov: Volunteer of the Month 1100, Commons 22 Nov: Alpha Company Change of Command 22 Nov: Bravo Company Change of Command 26 Nov: Polar Bear Turkey Bowl 28 Nov-01 Dec: Thanksgiving Day Holiday 28 Nov: Single Soldier Thanksgiving at BN HQ 14 Dec: Polar Bear Holiday Party 1100-1400, Monti Gym Thank you to our volunteers: Peggy Brott, Becky Mortiz, Sheila Planck and Katelyn Peoples for your dedicated service to the Polar Bear Soldiers and Families. They were recognized at our Steering Committee Meetings as Volunteers in the Spotlight. 18 Dec: HHC Change of Command 21 Dec-05 Jan: Block Leave FRSA CONTACT INFORMATION Lyndsey Hodkinson 315-772-4811 Lyndsey.M.Hodkinson.civ@mail.mil Located in the 4-31 IN BN S-1 Office on Mondays & Tuesdays from 0800-1630.
  • 3. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 3 HHC “HEADHUNTERS” Quarter three and four for fiscal year 2013 never allowed Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment a dull moment. Soldiers and leaders adapted to the evolving environment fostered by the United States Military Academy, West Point USMA). In late May, Headhunters began preparing for and deploying to West Point in support of Cadet Leader Development Training, Cadet Field Training and Cadet Basic Training. Upon arrival at Camp Natural Bridge HHC immediately began to Polarbearize anything and everything. Upon successful redeployment from West Point, Headhunter Soldiers will have fostered the military and leadership development of over 3,000 Cadets from West Point, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs and foreign nations. Headhunter leaders performed duties as Observer, Coach, Trainers (OC/T) during the initial phase of Cadet Summer training; Cadet Leader Development Training (CLDT). Cadets progressing into the fourth year of instruction at West Point were the target audience for CLDT. The Cadets were evaluated on the application of tactical doctrine and leadership while acting in various leadership positions encountered in light Infantry Platoons. Stress was purposefully introduced into the scenarios by OC/Ts and friction was a constant specter looming over the Cadets as they fought both the enemy and the environment. Following CLDT Headhunter leaders and Soldiers began preparations for Cadet Field Training. Cadet Field Training (CFT) is an annual event for members of the Core of Cadets who are progressing into their third year of instruction at West Point. Cadets are afforded the opportunity to increase their tactical and technical knowledge while also becoming familiarized with branch choices (Infantry, Armor, Aviation, Field Artillery. . .). Cadet Basic Training (CBT) provides the knowledge base for incoming Cadets, facilitating their success at West Point. Periods of instruction covering Drill and Ceremonies, Marksmanship, Land Navigation and First Aid were catalysts to their transformation from civilian to Cadet.
  • 4. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 4 HHC “HEADHUNTERS” The Battalion Medical Platoon has constantly proven to be a vital asset in maintaining not only the Battalions medical readiness but also the Core of Cadets. Their successful evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of Soldiers and Cadets allowed the summer training to continue while mitigating medical risks. The Cadets and Soldiers kept the Medical Platoon busy with injuries and ailments ranging from benign to serious. When not supporting Cadet training Soldiers had the opportunity to explore the various forms of outdoor activity surrounding Camp Natural Bridge; venture into New York City; and complete the 75 foot slide for life into Lake Popolopen. Two medics in particular stood out while supporting Cadet Air Assault School on June 26th. SPC Dobbs and Saunders promptly responded to the cries for “medic” as a Cadet succumbed to the intense heat and humidity that characterize the region during summer training. Their quick response and proficiency in evaluating and treating a patient promoted a full recovery for the Cadet. For their efforts they were presented with Army Commendation Medals. Camp Buckner Troop Medical Center (TMC) Pictured Left to Right: SPC McCormack, SPC Jimenez, 1LT Welton, SGT Witrock, SSG Martin, SPC Linder, SFC Case. SPC Dobbs and SPC Saunders While the mortar platoon’s senior leaders were supporting CLDT training at West Point the Soldiers and junior leaders were put through an intensive small unit tactics training cycle. They covered topics ranging from movement formations and techniques to battle drills and ambushes. While the mortar platoon is comprised of Indirect Fire Infantryman it is still vital for them to be capable of performing their duties as Infantryman. Following small unit tactics instruction and practical exercises the Soldiers practiced manipulating the mortar systems in preparation for the fire support lane at West Point. In late June, the Soldiers in the mortar platoon arrived at Camp Natural Bridge. Soon after arrival they began preparing the training event they were tasked with executing in support of CFT. The platoon developed a lane that gave Cadets a thorough understanding of the capabilities of a light Infantry mortar platoon, weapon systems and ammunition; fire direction center operations; aircraft deconfliction; and the call for fire process. The training was a joint endeavor with a Field Artillery element from the 82nd Airborne Division. Additionally, the training was completed with no injuries being sustained to Cadets or Soldiers.
  • 5. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 5 HHC “HEADHUNTERS” After redeployment to Fort Drum, the Battalion Mortar Platoon will begin an intensive training cycle involving basic and advanced marksmanship, claymore mine employment, fire direction center operations, drivers training, and small unit tactics; culminating in an urban fire team live fire exercise and 31 mile road march. The Scout Platoon has a new face in their midst. SFC Kenworthy has taken over as Platoon Sergeant for SFC Mendez. SFC Kenworthy is coming from Alpha Company, where he was also a Platoon Sergeant. SFC Mendez will be moving to the 5th Ranger Training Brigade at Dahlonega, GA. The Scout Platoon has also been busy while their senior leaders were away supporting Cadet Summer training. They assisted the Mortar Platoon with small unit tactics training in addition to teaching and refreshing some of the newer Scouts. When not training, the Scout Platoon has been helping the beautification process within and surrounding the Company area. Select members of the Scout Platoon have been afforded the opportunity to attend Army schools. Some Scouts are currently undergoing the grueling 61 day Ranger Course at Ft. Benning, GA. SSG Fish, the Sniper Squad Leader, has successfully completed Sapper School at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Following taskings at West Point, the Scout Platoon will also be undertaking a grueling train-up in preparation for an urban fire team live fire exercise and a 31 mile road march. Battalion Mortars Slide for life – Lake Popolopen PFC Coleman (top) and PFC Lopez – Mortar Platoon Combatives
  • 6. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 6 ALPHA COMPANY “IMMORTALS” The year 2013 has so far been an exciting and challenging one for Soldiers of Alpha Company (Immortals), 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI). During the summer of 2013, A Company sent over half of the company to the United State Military Academy to train the future officers of the Army. Over a period of three months, A Company leaders and Soldiers supported field training, rifle marksmanship, dismounted movements, tactical exercises and all the logistical support necessary to accomplish such a feat. The Company redeployed to Fort Drum in August where we quickly picked the pace back up and continued to train hard. After being back for only a few weeks, A Company hosted the 2nd Annual Immortal mile, a Full and half-marathon that took runners throughout the scenic Fort Drum terrain. It was a great event that brought the Immortal Nation together and in the end we had almost seventy-five competitors complete the arduous 13.1 and 26.2 mile event! Following the Immortal Mile, A Company, along with the rest of the Polar Bear Nation took a much needed and well deserved rest. Soldiers and families spread across the country to recuperate and recover from a tough training period. The Soldiers returned in early September ready to continue to get after tough training. As the company returned from leave, they were immediately thrust in a new direction as the Company was given a difficult task of resourcing and supporting a Platoon level live fire exercise the 10th Sustainment Brigade. Over a period of two weeks, A Company along with elements from the Battalion and Brigade planned, validated, and executed a complex and demanding live fire exercise. In the end A Company was able to train thirteen convoys and ensure they were ready to deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Immortals also received some great training from 6-6 CAV “Six Shooters”, a Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter Battalion. The Immortals were able to talk to helicopters and call in targets for the pilots to conduct live gun runs on. The Immortals walked away from the event better than when they arrived. Are you an A-CO Family member or spouse, who has not yet connected with us, and would like to stay informed? Join our email distro: polar_bearsfrg@yahoo.com & Connect with us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com Search for Aco Immortals.
  • 7. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 7 ALPHA COMPANY “IMMORTALS” Alpha Company has continued to perform admirably, going above and beyond to routinely achieve what others have insisted impossible. Over the next 45 days, A Company will be going through a leadership change over. While Laura and I have enjoyed working with and the pleasure of serving with the Soldiers of A Company, we will be leaving the Company. We will be handing over the reins of A Company to Team Scott, CPT Brandon Scott and his wife Caitlin. I have no doubt the Company will continue to exceed the standard and set the pace! Immortals! Pro Patria! - CPT Ryan David, Immortal 6 G.I. Kids Day The Immortal Mile
  • 8. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 8 BRAVO COMPANY “BLACKHAWKS” Bravo Company has been very busy since our redeployment from the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. As well as jumping back into our infantry skills training, we have been testing our physical and mental strength in preparation for the 31 mile foot march at the end of the month. In addition to conducting weekly foot marches, Bravo Company completed a 12 and 20 mile foot march within the past month. Both of these events provided the Blackhawks the opportunity to showcase our physical toughness and mental stamina. As infantrymen, it is imperative that we know how to effectively utilize our personal weapons. In order to meet this critical training requirement, Bravo Company conducted Basic Rifle Marksmanship, BRM, during the last week of September. BRM ensures that soldiers are familiar with their weapons and are able to adjust them in order to effectively engage targets at various distances. Our BRM training culminated with a trip to Range 41C to qualify each soldier on their assigned weapon and provide them with a chance to earn the coveted Expert Marksmanship Badge. This past week, the company conducted more advanced marksmanship by engaging targets at close quarters and practicing the art of entering and clearing rooms at Range 20A. During this trip to the field, the Blackhawks also began training once again as members of Infantry teams and squads. The soldiers conducted Squad Tactical Exercises, focusing on Squad Attacks, Ambushes, and React to Contact. Additionally, the Fires Section and newly reacquired Mortar Section deployed to the field in order to conduct live fire exercises during both day and night. They also supported 2-15 Artillery in their Live Fire certification process. Lastly, the company also had two soldiers compete in the Division-wide William O. Darby competition. 1LT Bruner and SFC Brear competed and won the event and were recognized by Major General Townsend as the best PL/PSG team in the entire 10th MTN Division. 1LT Bruner, MG Townsend, SFC Brear
  • 9. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 9 BRAVO COMPANY “BLACKHAWKS” In the coming months we will conduct more advanced marksmanship training, as well as M240B, M249, M320, and M9 ranges. We will also continue to hone our room clearing skills by conducting a UTM shoot house utilizing our assigned weapon systems with paint rounds. During this time Bravo Company will continue to ensure that Soldiers’ feet and minds stay tough as we continue to train for the 31 mile foot march. All of this training is designed to enable the Blackhawks to reacquire their skills in small unit tactics, prepare them for the culminating event of the quarter, a Team Live Fire during the second week of December, and to maintain mission readiness for any worldwide contingency deployment Blackhawks! Pro Patria! -1LT John Steger, Blackhawk 6 Members of 2nd PLT, Bravo Company conduct Short Range Marksmanship, SRM, training at Range 20A.
  • 10. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page CHARLIE COMPANY “ROCK” This summer Charlie Company deployed to West Point with the rest of the Battalion in order to mentor and develop the Army’s future leaders. On 16 May the leadership of Charlie Company occupied Camp Natural Bridge in the West Point training area and began to train up on the standards and expectations that West Point has of its Cadets. In the beginning of June, Cadet Leadership Development Training (CLDT) began for the upcoming Seniors of West Point. The leaders of Charlie Company were assigned to platoons of Cadets and went with them as they executed their platoon leadership lanes. Leaders of the Battalion were put into teams that complimented their skills and branches of service. The Cadets were instructed and mentored on defensive operations, offensive operations, movement to contact, and graded on a myriad of warrior tasks and leadership qualities. After three weeks of tireless efforts and mentorship by leaders of the Battalion, the Cadets have come one step closer to being well rounded Army leaders. Early July, the rest of Charlie Company joined the leaders down at West Point. The Soldiers of Charlie Company served as the Opposing Force to the Cadets during the second iteration of field training, turning in an exemplary performance. All of Charlie Company took part in the upcoming Juniors’ culminating field exercise that further developed the professionalism and competencies of the Cadets. When not training Cadets, the men of Charlie Company kept busy with ruck marches in the mountains downstate and recreational activities in the lake located at Camp Natural Bridge. As of mid August all of Charlie Company has returned safely and has already planned and executed various training events. Recently the company has gone on a land navigation course and the Fire Support Team has observed for the Brigade’s Field Artillery asset. Upcoming events include day and night land navigation, a Battalion mortar shoot and weapons qualification. Charlie Rock! Pro Patria! - CPT Jonathan Roselle, Rock 6
  • 11. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 11 CHARLIE COMPANY “ROCK” 2nd Platoon Leader 1LT R.J. Carbone and 2nd Platoon Sergeant SFC Alexis Rodriguez after completing an endur-a-thon 2nd Platoon after a night foot march
  • 12. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 12 DELTA COMPANY “Punishers” After returning from a 3 month mission from West Point, Delta Co (Heavy Weapons Company) received new soldiers to renew their combat strength and has initiated the focus on combat readiness which includes Marksmanship, Driver’s training, and Gunner Trials. With newly assigned Soldiers, they were quickly integrated into the Platoons and tested how well they were able to retain the information on the day to day operations of a Heavy Weapons Platoon. The incoming Soldiers were to compete against each other to earn the gunner position of a HMMWV in each of the Platoons. These tasks included an assembly and disassembly of weapon systems within the Heavy Weapons Company such as the M240B Machine Gun, M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun, the MK19 Grenade Launcher, and the ITAS (Improved Target Acquisition System) which shoots the TOW Missile that also serves as an excellent observation platform. Using the crawl, walk, run training method; Soldiers were first familiarized with each weapon systems by given time for hands-on training. Afterwards, complexity was introduced to the training when Soldiers were timed by trainers to prepare them for the last event. The culminating event, dubbed as “Gunner Trials” lead to mounting the ITAS on a HMMWV for a mission as quickly as possible after conducting PT to simulate fatigue in combat. The event reinforces the skills gained as well as the techniques needed to be used to gain an advantage over someone who is simply familiar with the weapon system. Reaching this event indicates the Soldier is proficient to execute the task in an expeditious manner leaving only physical ability as well as luck to determine the winner. Winners earned the gunner position on each of the trucks. Gunner trials will be planned for gunner candidates to have an opportunity to redeem themselves a position as a gunner in one of Delta Company’s HMMWV. Punishers! Pro Patria! - 1LT Christopher Frantz, Punisher 6 4th Platoon Delta Company Soldiers conducting the early portion of the Gunner Trials.
  • 13. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 13 FOX COMPANY “Polar Fox” Distribution Platoon 4th QTR 2013: The Distro Platoon was very busy during the final quarter of 2013. The platoon spent the majority of it at Camp Natural Bridge, West Point, NY in support of the United States Military Academy Summer Training. The platoon was battalion Task Force’s main effort for the entire summer, responsible for transporting 4,000 cadets and various types of sustainment for the duration of the training cycle. The platoon conducted over 600 missions in three months and did an outstanding job! Seven Soldiers were promoted during this time period. PFC Litfin earned the rank of Private First Class. Four Soldiers were promoted from PFC to SPC: SPC Renaud, SPC Lidstrom, SPC Waller, SPC Kleinschmidt, and SPC Sherman. SSG Koerner earned his rank on 1 OCT 2013. The platoon said farewell to five Soldiers as well. SSG Crisp, SPC Li, PVT Deleon, PV2 Morris, and PVT Lopez. We were glad to welcome three new Soldiers: SGT McCollet, SPC Lopez, and SPC Marks have all joined the unit and will help us continue to support the Polar Bears. The platoon has recently completed some great training: All Soldiers have qualified on their assigned weapons, as well as the machine gunners. The platoon used the deployment to West Point to train over one thousand combined miles of drivers training. In order to train for the 1st annual 4-31 IN Battalion 31 mile foot march, the platoon has achieved foot marches of 12 and 20 miles. We would like to congratulate SPC tuner, SPC Lidstrom, SPC Renaud, and PFC Yeager on the birth of their newborn babies! We wish them nothing but happiness and health. The platoon is looking forward to the next quarter, which will include increased support missions, the 31 mile foot march, and many heavy weapons training events. Sadly, we said goodbye to our fearless leader CPT Galneau on 30 October. We would all like to thank him and wish him the best of luck in his future assignments! Distro Soldiers are staging 15 trucks for a convoy to transport 180 Cadets to the range for training. 2LT Lucid leads a convoy of 15 trucks at West Point in order to transport Cadets to training sites.
  • 14. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 14 FOX COMPANY “Polar Fox” Maintenance Platoon 4th QTR 2013: From 16 May to 15 August 2013 the majority of the Maintenance Platoon deployed to West Point, NY to support the mission of training cadets from the United States Military Academy. These cadets will one day become Army officers and lead the very Soldiers helping with their training. While at West Point the Maintenance Platoon repaired 100s of vehicles, weapons and radios. Their actions ensured that over 4,000 cadets were trained. The Maintenance Platoon celebrated four promotions while deployed; Jorge Orozco was promoted to Sergeant First Class, Michael O'Bryan was promoted to Sergeant, Casey Chenoweth was promoted to Specialist, and Thomas Rikala was promoted to Private First Class. PFC Rikala also received a Battalion coin from LTC Dicks for his superior skill at weapons repair. During the last few months the Maintenance platoon added several new faces; SGT Hamel, SGT Smith, SGT Quinata and SPC Prat. SGT Hamel will serve as head of the PLL section. SGT Quinata will be the Platoon's new shop foreman. SGT Smith will be taking over first squad. SPC Prat will be serving as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. Recovery assets from Maintenance Platoon demonstrated their skills as they ensured all vehicles made it back over the 250 mile trip to and from West Point
  • 15. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 15 FOX COMPANY “Polar Fox” Head Quarters Platoon -4th QTR 2013: Headquarters platoon turns the page on a hectic and successful third quarter of 2013. Deployed as the advance party for the 4-31 Taskforce the cooks from Fox Headquarters set up a field dining facility in support of the entire taskforce. The cooks worked around the clock getting the facility cleaned and prepped for their supporting role. Their work established a first rate field dining facility that served upwards of 800 soldiers daily over the 3 month mission. The cooks would go on to serve over 90,000 meals for Taskforce Polar Bear. In the past few months Headquarters platoon welcomed two new soldiers to the DFAC section PFC Wengert, and SPC Rivera. Both soldiers performed at a very high level all summer and were awarded with the Army Achievement Medal. We would also like to congratulate PFC Wengert on his recent promotion from PV2 to PFC. Along with gaining new soldiers Head Quarters reluctantly says goodbye to SPC Clark. We wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. SSG Blade inspects the preparation of one of many meals SPC Smith decides his next ingredient SPC Lavin prepares apples for a delicious dessert
  • 16. F O R T D R U M, N Y Page 16 CHAPLAIN As we approach the Holiday season, I am reminded that no matter what season it is, in the Army, it is always the season for change. In the near future, our unit will experience four company changes of command, several changes of responsibility, and many other significant personnel changes. One of these changes will also include the office of the Chaplain. It is with great fondness that I will recall my time with the Polar Bears, but also with a sense of accomplishment. Memories were made that will last a lifetime, to include; JRTC, Mountain Peak, NTC, West Point, the 31-Mile Foot March, over a dozen Polar Bear Weddings, a dozen more baptisms, and well over twenty retreats. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives, even if it was only for a season. As I prepare to sign off the net as your Battalion Chaplain, I would like to leave you with a brief meditation on the topic of change. The book of James states, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – [James 1:17 NIV] Though we face change on all sides, whether it be rank, position, personnel, or even duty station, one thing does not change and that is our God! Every good gift is from him, even life itself. This holiday season, we pray that you would experience the good gifts of faith, family, and friendship. If I can ever be of future serve to any of you as a Chaplain, please do not hesitate to call on me. Pro Deo Et Patria! Pro Patria! JOSHUA A. METZ Chaplain (CPT) USA 4-31 IN Battalion Chaplain