(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Throughout the past several days, Fort Carson soldiers from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, have been conducting a Bradley gunnery exercise.

“So, this training is important because it tests our ability to move and communicate as crew members, as to working together in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle platform,” said Fort Carson Second Lieutenant Dylan Allen. “So, when we’re out in the field in large scale events and forever down range, we can be a competent and functional crew by supporting the brigade battalion.”

Thirteen crews participated in the Bradley gunnery exercise on Wednesday afternoon.

The training is meant to help Bradley crews work on gaining confidence in the vehicles and build on readiness.

“I think the most interesting aspect of going to training like this is seeing the crews and then the individual teams for each weapons platform, because these vehicles are only as good as the people who are in them and these relationships are not easy to build,” said Fort Carson Captain Alexander Jozhemyakin.

Each crew member plays an integral role in ensuring the mission is successful. For Fort Carson Sergeant Joseph Curley, this is his seventh time doing the Bradley gunnery exercise and he serves as a mechanic on the exercise.

“So any malfunctions they have when they operate a vehicle, I just go out, troubleshoot and ensure that they can go back out, shoot, and then be done with the day,” said Curley.

This exercise helps crews build a stronger bond and recognize how to best communicate with one another.

“So teamwork is key for this,” said Allen. “I mean, these vehicles are very complicated and very important to our formation Armored Brigade Combat Team. Without them, we’re pretty much a useless force. So, it’s important that we work as a team… to maintain them, to fight with them, shoot with them and communicate with them.”

There are three crew members in the Bradley fighting vehicle and each must work with the others to shoot down the targets.

“Communication during gunnery is huge,” said Fort Carson Captain Loyce Lightfoot. “The gunner and the V.C., the vehicle commander, have to communicate together and have to be on the same page constantly. If one person is off, the target is not seen or the target is not engaged, and therefore we don’t accomplish our mission.”

The objective of the Bradley gunnery exercise is to build ready crews to support the NTC rotation which prepares soldiers for real-world missions.

“We’re going to National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, later this year, which is a huge brigade-size level event,” said Allen. “We’ll be able to sustain ourselves, sustain ourselves within the battalion, and work together as a brigade to be able to be a functional fighting force.”

Three crew members are inside the Bradley fighting vehicle.

First Lieutenant Matthew Sauter shared the feeling of accomplishment after seeing the targets shot down.

“So as you’re going down the lane, you can see the targets as you’re shooting, you’ll see them drop,” Sauter said. “And so, like as you progress down the lane, the more you hit, like, the more like you’re in the groove and, and it feels good to you know, keep that momentum going.”

When it comes to the hard work and determination of the crews, both Kozhemyakin and Lightfoot expressed their appreciation.

“This is some of the best sons and daughters in our nations that I get to witness working as teams,” Kozhemyakin said. “I am extremely proud of my company and the level of work they’ve put into their training. They’ve gone above and beyond of what is expected of them, and I’m excited to see what’s next for them.”