Ex STEELE BEASTS – A Recce Sqn Perspective
By Trooper Jackson “Cricket” Steinke
Usually at 0200hrs, troops want nothing more than to be anywhere but their Regiment. Friday at 0200hrs on February 26th 2016, however, was a different story for those showing up for their chance to travel to Texas. Soldiers showed up in various states of awareness based on their decision to go to bed early and catch some sleep before the early timing or find an after-work activity that could keep them up until they needed to stumble in with their kit. Luckily, everyone showed up on time and we managed to make it to the airport at the Army standard of 2½ hours early for our timing. It seems those who fly more often had it all figured out and even seemed to know that they would be “randomly selected” at every security checkpoint.
Once we arrived in Fort Hood, we were shown our quarters and after a bit of hesitation we cleared the rooms of the old recluse nests and made sure there were no rattlers waiting to strike from a hidden den. Immediately after dumping our kit into our rooms we decided a proper recce of Rudy’s was in order. Cheap beers and plates full of brisket and pork were soon devoured as we all contemplated how much weight we would be gaining over the next week. Since our first timing was not until 0630 Monday morning we spent the next few days scoping out the popular watering holes of Killeen, TX. Even though the exchange rate was horrible for us this year coming in at $1.4 Canadian for every American dollar spent, we still felt we came out on top as we joked at the ridiculously low prices for the essentials of every soldier: liquor, smokes, and chewing tobacco.
Once the weekend was over it was time to get down to business and shake off (or sweat out) all the fun we had had since arriving. 0630hrs Physical Training (PT) Monday morning was met with great enthusiasm as we donned our PT belts, thus making us impervious to injury. The first day was used to familiarize ourselves with the high tech simulators that very realistically portrayed being in a cramped turret with no AC in the middle of a desert. Over the course of the week, lessons were learned and scores of enemy were destroyed as we mastered the controls. Even though Trooper Devin “Weasel” Nancekivell and his Crew Commander Master Corporal Gabriel “Water Buffalo” Van Den Born were busy most of the time deciding who everyone represented in the animal kingdom and occasionally needed to be reminded to scan their arcs; they racked up an impressive virtual body count. I myself managed to destroy a BDRM twice and lobbed a few 25mm rounds into it for good measure.
As our time in Texas came to a close, I think that we all benefited in different ways as we adjusted our thinking from a recce element to being an infantry element and actually assaulting towns full of enemy. We made sure as we cleaned our rooms that everything from the bathrooms to the floors were spotless and good enough that you could eat off of them. Trooper Brady “Gibbon” Fox took this a little too seriously as I stumbled into his room to find him finishing his macaroni off the floor using a tube of toothpaste as a spoon. As we departed the gates of Fort Hood for the final time, we all reminisced about how much fun we had had and all the valuable lessons we had learned. We won’t be forgetting Texas anytime soon and I don’t think Texas will forget about us anytime soon either.