Incoming! 'Raiders' take cover during indirect fire drill
June 19, 2013
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - When a blaring siren pierced the Kuwaiti air, "Raider" Brigade soldiers donned their M40 Protective Masks and filled the bunkers scattered across Camp Buehring's sandy surface.
"Incoming, incoming, incoming," a disembodied voice bellowed, as the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, soldiers packed into the shelters, testing the seals of their masks.
Raiders reaffirmed their chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives attack response skills, and practiced the proper procedures for finding cover during an artillery mortar or rocket attack, during an indirect fire drill, June 5.
"As soon as we heard the siren, we hit the bunkers," said Sgt. Brandon Sweetman, armor crewman, Company D, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st ABCT. "It is very important to have systems in place for situations like this."
In the days leading up to the event leaders throughout the brigade drilled their soldiers on proper pro-mask and bunker procedures.
"Soldiers who have never come under fire before cannot understand what it is like," said Sweetman, who experienced indirect-fire attacks during previous deployments. "If we keep training over and over, muscle memory and instinct will kick in, and could save their lives during a real world situation."
Capt. Andrew Lowe, air defense officer, 1st ABCT, and brigade leaders observed the exercise, and disseminated casualty cards that directed soldiers to assume the role of wounded in need of aid from their comrades.
"We conduct these battle drills to ensure the soldiers of the "Raider" Brigade are ready for anything," said Lowe. "Drills like this refresh our basic skills. Whether we are here in Kuwait, or back at Fort Carson, or deployed to Afghanistan, we need to continually train to maintain these skills."
At the announcement of "All clear, all clear, all clear," most soldiers exited the bunkers to resume their daily tasks, but for the medical soldiers of Company C, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st ABCT, the exercise had only just begun.
Within minutes of the "all clear," simulated casualties began to arrive at the brigade aid station, suffering from fictitious trauma, ranging from chest wounds to post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Our expectations were to effectively treat patients as they came in, and we accomplished that very well," said Spc. Nicklaus Lego, healthcare specialist, Company C, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st ABCT. "The whole medical side of the operation went smoothly."
Lego said incorporating the "Charlie Med" soldiers into the exercise lent the operation an air of realism, and helped the medical troops maintain their perishable skills.
"Medical skills have a tendency to be lost if they are not used continually," he said. "Even stepping out of the right mindset for a few minutes can cost a patient's life."
Soldiers of the Raider brigade will continue training and enhancing their warrior skills throughout their deployment to Kuwait.
"I think the event was a success," Lowe said. "Soldiers knew and followed the proper procedures for an indirect fire attack in a possible NBC environment. The lessons we learned during this exercise will help us make our next training event even better."