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NEWS | Nov. 27, 2017

Task Force Coyote, Operation Cold Steel II: trained, equipped, lethal

By Spc. Noel Williams U.S. Army Reserve Command

Task Force Coyote, Operation Cold Steel II began Oct. 12, 2017 at Fort Hunter Liggett, California.

The 79th Theater Support Command (TSC), is hosting Task Force Coyote from Oct. 12 to Dec. 15, 2017. Task Force Coyote is part of a larger event, Operation Cold Steel II. The training is scheduled for four locations: Fort Hunter Liggett; Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The operation is designed to familiarize Soldiers on several different crew-served weapon systems and to increase Soldier lethality to produce units of action and combat-ready Soldiers. This training allows Soldiers to gain hands-on experience and knowledge that equips them to meet mission requirements.

"It's imperative for the survivability of our units when we deploy overseas, that we are able to functionally use these weapon systems to protect ourselves and that of our allies," said Maj.Todd Spanton, executive officer for Task Force Coyote. "So, it’s definitely an imperative training to maintain our readiness and be ready to deploy, engage and destroy the enemies of the United States of America."

The projected goal of Soldiers going through Task Force Coyote is 1,000 teams of two. These Soldiers go through a four-day training cycle training or re-familiarization with the M2 and M240B machine guns, the Mark 19 grenade machine gun and the M249 light machine gun. At the end of training, the Soldiers qualify with these weapons systems on a day and night range.

Day one consists of Soldiers completing preliminary marksmanship instruction (PMI). The PMI training helps Soldiers understand the basics of their assigned crew-served weapon and the proper techniques of firing, clearing and checking the weapon.

On day two of Task Force Coyote, Soldiers practice firing with an Engagement Skills Trainer (EST). The EST is a simulator that allows the Soldiers to practice their aiming, binding and fire commands for their assigned weapon. Soldiers also practice target acquisition. For target acquisition, Soldiers practice target engagement with their AN/PAS-13 thermal imaging sight and weapon sights.

Day three is a full day of qualification for Soldiers on the day and night range. The last day, day four, involves Soldiers performing weapons and equipment maintenance.

Task Force Coyote, as part of Operation Cold Steel II is an important step in building the most capable, combat-ready and lethal federal reserve force in history.

Soldiers are required to maintain their readiness as part of the U.S. Army Reserve’s quick reaction force, Ready Force X (RFX). RFX Soldiers maintain a higher level of training to offset risk to the nation. These pools of Soldiers are expected to rapidly respond to evolving threats. For Soldiers assigned to RFX, this involves participating in additional training exercises to maintain a higher readiness in their units.

Task Force Coyote is an effective training. Soldiers participate in approximately eight hours of marksmanship training and any additional training needed to learn the different functions of the weapon systems. These skill-sets are expected to be maintained. Understanding the full capabilities of these weapons will benefit soldiers when they're deployed. Soldiers are expected to be ready to assist their brothers-in-arms when called to support.

"I think that the training out here is some of the best I have experienced in my 15-year career thus far," said Spanton "The Soldiers are actually able to utilize and get the hands on experience and really become proficient with the weapons systems that are required to keep them and our allies safe when deployed overseas."