The Army wanted more armor so a former infantry unit is now training with tanks.

Soldiers with Delta Tank Company, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division began initial training with upgraded M1A1 tanks at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

“The Abrams is the most lethal land warfare platform, battle-tested in both Desert Storm and Iraq,” Capt. Freddy Mitchell, the Delta commander, said in a Defense Department release. “This tank brings another long-range, direct-fire weapons system to our brigade.”

The goal is to boost the Army’s armor for more rotational deployments to areas such as Eastern Europe, an effort to counter what many top defense officials see as a growing threat from Russian influence in the region.

The addition of the 2nd ABCT will assist the 3rd ID’s 1st ABCT, which has deployed alongside NATO allies in recent years.

The training soldiers recently completed is foundational to moving and shooting with armor. Gunnery involves taking a set of targets and then rolling through acquiring those targets, firing and striking while following the proper procedures for the equipment.

“Gunnery is beyond critical,” Mitchell said. “It is a necessary event to create lethal crews. Training like this is advantageous to the unit’s lethality.”

The “Spartan Brigade” went to war in the Iraq invasion as an armored brigade combat team, leading the capture of Baghdad in the infamous Thunder Run.

Due to military drawdowns and restructuring it was reformed into an infantry brigade nearly four years ago.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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