FORT POLK, La. -- Through the shrill sounds of explosions and gunfire, "Charlie Guard," Soldiers of Company C, 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) maneuver in a village filled with tattered buildings, burning cars and urban clutter.

This is as close to reality as it gets, as they conduct Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) Live Fire training at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La.
JRTC is training grounds for advancing unit readiness by providing demanding and realistic training in times of war and conflict.

"Our purpose here is to work on a platoon level through live fire, replicate the Iraqi National Army and supporting the Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division," said Cpt. Ed L. Arntson, company commander. "Our leadership is consistently changing scenarios so it's a different training experience each time."

"We're conducting tactical training to cooperate as one cohesive movement in tactical environments," said 2nd Lt. Robert Breitman, a platoon leader.

C Co. is the only company in the Regiment's JRTC rotation that has had the opportunity to experience this live action.

"This is way beyond our expectations; it's a rarity to conduct live fire of that magnitude," said First Sgt. Javier Montanez, company first sergeant. "There is nowhere in Virginia where we can simulate such a thing."

With live fire as the highlight for C Co., Soldiers have learned how to operate in other scenarios including role-playing.

"I've practiced vehicle dismounts, platoon attacks and reacting to improvised explosive devices," said Pfc. Brian T. Wright, 1st platoon. "Not only do I have a better understanding of how a platoon conducts a mission together but also a better knowledge of the culture of Iraqis through role-playing."

So far, the training has already instilled an abundance of confidence and trust in each Soldier for one another.

"The confidence is high and they trust each other," said Montanez. "To have that out on the battlefield with the guy next to you...you can't put a price on that."

"I have more trust in the people I'm surrounded by which is reassuring if we get deployed together," said Spc. John P. Roberson, 1st platoon.

"I've come to know that these guys are good Soldiers, good people and I feel confident to go to combat with them," said Cpl. Seth A. Monroe, 3rd platoon. "This training boosts esprit de corps which is super high for us right now."

Overall, C Co. is completely satisfied and grateful for this priceless experience.

"We've built stronger squad relationships and I've learned what my guys can deal with under intense pressure and stress. We're a step higher in the building block of preparing a unit for deployment," said Staff Sgt. Bobby J. Driskill, 2nd platoon sergeant.

"This is a great training environment that puts you in warrior mindset, the best we've seen in awhile," said Montanez. "These guys are fabulous and I'm confident to say that we are 100% ready to deploy if needed."

C Co. is scheduled to redeploy back to their home station, Fort Myer, Va., May 20 where they will carry on their mission of providing advanced tactical skills throughout the National Capital Region and conducting memorial affairs in Arlington National Cemetery.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16