Fort Bliss soldiers hone tank skills in live-fire exercise

EL PASO, Texas - Dozens of Fort Bliss soldiers were honing their tank skills during a live-fire exercise Tuesday afternoon at the Oro Grande Range in Otero County.

The training is part of a month-long exercise that qualifies soldiers to fire their tanks in combat.

Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Cairnes said, “So today, Delta troop 213 CAV is conducting Table 12 collective gunnery. This is where the platoons, as a whole, qualify themselves to be certified to shoot and to fire as a platoon.”

Cairnes said the exercise pits soldiers in different scenarios forcing them to make split-second decisions. 

He told KTSM that soldiers would be engaging a variety of targets.

He said, “Targets that replicate enemy tanks. Targets that replicate personnel carriers and they have to be positively identified. This is part of the crew drills. To make sure they accurately identify and describe what they’re seeing in front of them on the range.”

Cairnes added that the training helps keep his troops in a combat-ready mindset. 

"It's very important. We have to be ready to fight our nation's battle. That goes without saying. With the Army seemingly building up again and a lot of new soldiers in we need this training. Even someone experienced like myself. Need to stay fresh. Need to stay sharp."

According to Fort Bliss, this training takes place twice a year. 

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