Longrifle Raid tests Soldiers’ endurance and abilities

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The standard Army Physical Fitness Test is just one part of the Longrifle Raid. Photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Van Horn, 2/138th FA.

Story by 1st Lt. Daniel Van Horn, 2/138th FA and David Altom, KYNG PAO

FORT KNOX, Ky. – The Kentucky longrifle holds an unassailable position in American history.  The mere mention of the word “longrifle” conjurs up images of militiamen from more than two centuries ago running through the woods toward the gunfire, silent, stoic and eager to engage the enemy.

The obstacle course challenges Soldiers' physical endurance, fitness and problem solving abilities. Photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Van Horn, 2/138th FA.

We are now in the 21st century and the longrifle legacy is alive and well in Kentucky, as seen by the Longrifle Raid, a recent competition held by the 138th Fires Brigade during their weekend training at Fort Knox on Mar. 18-19.

Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Chumley sees the competition in terms of esprit de corps as well as practical application.

“I have always wanted an event which test Soldiers endurance in the artillery community both mentally and physically,” he said. “Many other branches have similar tests and Soldiers get to wear badges or tabs to represent their hard work and devotion to their job. We were lacking this, which is why we created the Longrifle Raid.”

The first two events tested endurance as Soldiers needed to complete an Army standard physical training test with 70 percent in each category, followed by an obstacle course.  Once this was completed Soldiers had to zero their M-16 with 18 rounds and qualify on their first try. The troops then ruck marched to one of the training areas to complete missions such as react to fire, land navigation, grenade throws, evaluate a casualty, react to an improvised explosive device, call for fire and load a SINGARS radio.  Soldiers then hoofed it back to their base and slept for a couple of hours before being tested on questions about unit history, the soldiers creed, Fiddler’s Green and the Army Song.

An artillery Soldier negotiates an obtacle on the way to becoming a Longrifle Raider. Photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Van Horn, 2/138th FA.

1st Lt. Daniel Van Horn, a platoon leader for Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery sees the Longrifle Raid as a way of showing off Soldiers’ knowledge and abilities in every area and not just in their designated MOS.

“This competition was very successful,” said Van Horn.  “It’s inspired our Soldiers to dedicate themselves not only to hone their individual skills but to also learn the history and pride of the 2/138th, which in my opinion is equally as important.”

“This event demonstrates the diverse knowledge of artillerymen and the skills required for today’s theater of operations to be ready for any mission, at anytime, anywhere,” he said.

For their efforts the Longrifle Raiders get to wear a red cord within the brigade at artillery events and functions on their ASU’s and Class A uniforms, making them stand apart as Soldiers who are highly skilled and capable of performing to a higher standard.

The first batch of Longrifle Raiders are (left to right) Pvt. 1st Class Jerry Hutchinson, Pvt. 1st Class Joseph Coy, Sgt. Holdin Reed, Sgt. Gregory Farmer, Cadet Victor Farrar, Spc. Jordan Tebbe. 1st Lt. Daniel Van Horn and Master Sgt. Robert Hughes. Photo by Maj. Tim Culver, 2/138 FA.

 

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