By Staff Sgt. Aaron Rognstad
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command
On a beautiful summer sun-drenched day at the base of the Rocky Mountains, U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers were doing something they had not been able to do in a few months – get back to soldiering.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Army Reserve units have been drilling virtually with their Soldiers completing training classes or attending conference calls from home. It is safe to say, this is not the ideal training situation for readiness, so when the Soldiers of the 2nd Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Command took to the rifle range on Aug. 1, it was only the second in-person drill in months, and the first one where they got to do some actual soldiering and warrior tasks.
“It’s good to see everyone with a high level of energy and really jazzed up to get back to this,” said Sgt. Maj. Tim Allen of the 2nd Space Battalion. “It’s been a tough few months, but everyone in the unit has maintained their home life, built resiliency and adapted to flexibility.”
The 2nd Space Battalion was one of the only units drilling in-person in August within the 76th Operational Support Command, which they fall under.
“It’s good to be back training,” said Pfc. Richard Bambao, a supply specialist with the battalion. “I love the camaraderie. Even though we have to enforce more hygiene, social distancing, and the wearing of masks, it’s great to be back out here, honestly.”
In addition to qualifying with the M4 carbine on the range, Soldiers also performed first-aid training and had breakout sessions within their respective companies – all done at 6-foot intervals between each other, of course.
“We’ve fallen in a rut the last few months of COVID, COVID, COVID, and everybody wants to use that as an excuse not to train,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kelly Hart, 1st Space Brigade. “We have to work past that to come up with out-of-the box thinking to conduct training. We’re going to support the warfighters and we are going to get after innovative ways to continue to train.”
Soldiers of the 2nd Space Battalion adhered to social distancing guidelines, wore facemasks in public places/indoors, and disinfected hands and surfaces at every opportunity, said Col. Brian Bolio, commander, 1st Space Brigade.
“This is the first time they’ve (Soldiers of the 2nd Space Battalion) been to the range since last September due to some of these constraints,” Bolio said. “And they’ve powered through, not hiding behind COVID, but working through it to ensure readiness.”