|“[We’ll] guide the task force or group of
people into an area. We know which house they’re going to
hit…and which route to take,” Spc. Ellory Bockting, said. “A
Bradley can’t go, for example, in some areas that other vehicles
can. A [large truck] can’t make the turn that a Bradley can.
They trust us to get them to that house, or to get them to that
objective, because we know the area.”
When they’re not
scouting, the scouts fill in as a force multiplier. They’ve been
on the ground with the infantry conducting raids, searches and
patrols with a steady reliability over the past year.
Recently they were found sweeping farmland for weapons caches
during a Jan. 21 task force operation along the Euphrates River
near Latifiyah. The scout platoon swept an area adjacent to an
infantry platoon and discovered a cache of over 70 hand grenades
and several mortars.
“[Searching fields] is not typically a scout mission, but we
do it because we have wheels,” Harper said. “We can get a lot of
places where it’s hard for people to get, and basically we’re
all over the place doing different stuff.”
One thing that makes the scouts so dynamic is their ability
to operate independently and with minimal guidance, Harper
“If its time to do dismount, we dismount. If its time to do a
cordon and search, we do that. [As a scout] you’re doing a lot
more stuff, and you’re doing it independently,” Harper said. “We
are the eyes and ears of the Task Force and we operate away from
a lot of higher level supervision. I get my guidance from the
battalion commander and we go. We’re gone.
“[It’s the] same thing with my sections. I’m going to tell
them, this is what you need to accomplish, but I’m not going to
tell you where to sit. It’s very decentralized, and it requires
a lot of independent thought, he continued.”
Bockting, a native of Louisville, Ky., added that as a small
platoon, the scouts know each other well, and have a high level
of camaraderie, allowing them to work well together.
“The scout platoon knows each other real well,” Bockting
said. “We know each other’s tone. We know attitudes. We can tell
who’s in a bad mood, who’s not in a bad mood, who can handle
what today, who’s going to be the energetic one, and who’s going
to be the one to take charge on this particular event.”
The value of this tight-knit, relatively small task force
element was proven in theater over the past year, according to
Helton. Whatever the scouts were tasked to do, whether a scout
mission, or a common task mission, the scouts came through and
accomplished the assignment, he said.