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Friday, March 26, 2010

Warriors in the Desert

FORT IRWIN, Calif. – Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2BCT), 25th Infantry Division (AAB) continued pre-deployment training through the month of March at the National Training Center (NTC) here. The brigade’s initial Field Training Exercise resulted in increased proficiency during the Situational Training Exercises (STX).

During the course of the STX, each unit in the brigade conducted training missions in simulated environments to assess the reactionary capabilities of soldiers in life-like scenarios, including urban operations, medical response and evacuation procedures, and key leader engagements.

Soldiers conducted dismounted urban operations in simulated Iraqi cities to practice room-clearing and perimeter security procedures. These scenarios also allowed soldiers to interact with simulated Iraqi civilians through tactical questioning in order to locate simulated improvised explosive devices and weapons caches hidden in the towns.

In addition to combat operations, soldiers had opportunities to practice combat lifesaver and emergency first responder skills. Throughout the course of the rotation, soldiers suffered simulated injuries, forcing other soldiers to administer first aid procedures until the wounded personnel reached medical professionals. This training exposed soldiers to realistic situations that demanded quick thinking and proper procedures in order to minimize casualties.

Key leaders and staff at the battalion and brigade levels conducted a Command Post Exercise (CPX) in which information was gathered from units conducting missions on various STX lanes. The information was then relayed through the proper channels until it reached the battalion and brigade Tactical Operation Centers (TOCs). The purpose of the CPX was to synchronize the brigade and the battalions with ground units, ensuring a smooth flow of information, allowing leaders and staff at battalion and brigade levels to process the information and plan operations that will directly affect those ground units.

Leaders from the brigade also established good working relationships with their simulated Iraqi counterparts through Key Leader Engagements (KLEs) in which the Iraqi political and security officials communicated their needs and goals for their respective areas. Leaders from the brigade responded by identifying the best ways to help their Iraqi counterparts. In some cases, the answer is assistance through tangible means while in other situations it is the advice and influence that gets different leaders and their organizations to use their own capabilities to solve problems.

As the brigade pushes onward into the final phase of training at NTC, every unit’s focus is on the successful completion of the upcoming Mission Rehearsal Exercise.

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