January 3, 2002
Muscogee Co., Ga.- Forty-five Fort Benning soldiers take turns firing at moving targets on the base's Caramouche range. They are taking the exercise very seriously because they know as part of the Third Brigade and Third Mechanized Infantry Division, they'll soon be in the Persian Gulf. There the targets might be firing back.
"We're making sure soldiers are ready to go over there and do what they have to do, and combat is one of the options," Lt. Col. John Charlton said.
Troops help load highly explosive rounds and those meant to penetrate armor, as the training goes on day and night. The division being deployed to the Gulf region includes a mix of tanks, attack helicopters and highly mobile infantry. The soldiers do have one advantage, they've already been to Kuwait.
"They are very familiar with terrain, culture, and environment," Charlton said. "You really couldn't have a better trained unit than the Third Brigade."
What's harder for most of the troops than preparing for combat, is the thought of leaving their families once again.
"It's pretty rough, we just got back a month and a half ago, so it puts a lot of stress in the family," Staff Sgt. Herrera said.
Overall as the threat of war looms larger, feelings of those likely heading into the thick of it vary from confident, to a sense of pride and duty.
"This is why we're in the military," Charlton said. "We're talking about American security, that's what's at risk."
When they are leaving is unknown, since it's a matter of national security.
posted at 6:30 p.m. by email@example.com