Hot Topics

  Social Media

Subscribe in a reader


Weather Update
USASOC News Service's items Go to USASOC News Service's photostream

Join Our Mailing List

Home > UNS > 141219-01



Legion, Bastogne conduct TOW missile training

by Sgt. Justin Moeller
5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Public Affairs Office

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (USASOC News Service, Dec. 19, 2014) – Green Berets with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) teamed up with Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne,” 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), to conduct TOW missile training Dec. 9, 2014, in an effort to familiarize themselves with the weapon system.

“The TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) weapon system is a crew-portable, heavy antitank weapon,” said a Green Beret team sergeant with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 5th SFG (A). “It consists of a launcher and guided missile designed to complement shoulder-fired weapons.”

Like any weapon system, the Soldiers who operate them need training like this to keep their skills sharp.

“The purpose of the TOW missile live-fire exercise was to validate our systems and provide our TOW gunners an opportunity to fire a live TOW,” said Capt. John F. Yanikov with 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT “Bastogne," 101st Airborne Division. “It was also a chance to train the 5th Special Forces Group Soldiers on how to employ the TOW; its capabilities and limitations; and how to fire the TOW.”

With each missile being fired and each target being struck, the Soldiers began to see the benefits of this weapon being put into operation.

“The primary takeaway from this training is, of course, the emplacement and operation of the TOW Missile weapon system,” said the Green Beret. “The secondary take away is to understand and trust the high level of expertise our conventional brothers have in each of their given military occupation specialties’'

The 5th SFG (A) Soldiers do not have much experience with this weapon system but, with an ever changing battle field, implementation of this weapon system may come.

“Due to the current conflicts in our area of responsibility (AOR), it has been determined that the BGM-71 TOW missile system would be a valuable asset,” said the Green Beret. “However, this weapon system is not organic to special operations forces (SOF), so we are capitalizing on conventional force capabilities.”

Capabilities that that Soldiers of Bastogne were eager to share, as training between SOF and conventional forces becomes an important key in winning future battles.

“It is significant because it allows for better interoperability between units,” explained Yanikov. “If we both understand how each other work in our respective missions - and how they overlap into the bigger picture - it allows both of us to achieve mission success.”

In hopes to find that success, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command is moving forward with a deliberate plan, ARSOF 2022, to ensure that we can find, fix and finish tomorrow’s enemy as well as recover and revitalize our force.

Another part of the ARSOF 2022 plan is: “The Army must achieve special operations forces and conventional force interdependence to lock in the advances of the last decade of conflict, more effectively counter future threats and shape the operational environment. The Army must establish a range of personnel, training, command and support relationships between SOF and CF.”

“The significance lies both at the tactical and the command level,” said the Green Beret. “At the tactical level, the Soldiers on the ground have the ability to refine their interoperability, learning from each other and refining tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) together. While at the command level, working toward interdependence is paramount in order to properly plan and resource training and operations.”

The TOW missile training was not the first, nor will it be the last time the Legionnaires conduct training with their conventional force brethren.

“We conducted mortar training with conventional forces last month, and we plan to conduct all-terrain vehicle and communications training this upcoming January,” said the Green Beret. “But any time soldiers from different units can conduct tactical training alongside each other, it is a great opportunity to trade SOPs and TTPs, and this makes everyone better.”