'Crawling' through urban operations
July 21, 2009
CAMP HOVEY, Korea -- The rotation of personnel during the summer "permanent-change-of-duty-station season" can be challenging for units assigned to Korea's 2nd Infantry Division. The constant rotation in and out of country by large numbers of personnel can pose significant challenges for leaders focused on training Soldiers and ensuring their units are ready to "Fight Tonight."
One way to address personnel turnover in units is to employ a "crawl/walk/run" training process. The "crawling" phase breaks an event like military operations in urban terrain, or "MOUT," down to its most basic tasks so that Soldiers can learn or re-learn the training from the ground up.
"We've had a high rate of personnel turnover and this was one of the first opportunities to get all our new Soldiers out training," said Sgt. 1st Class Tom Sales, 1st Platoon sergeant for "Easy" Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd ID. "For these two days we were able to get both the mounted and dismounted crews training together and start working on the crawl phase of urban operations."
Sales walked members of his platoon through the training without weapons or gear, using only the outline of a building so his Soldiers could both see and, hopefully, understand the basic fundamentals of urban operations.
"This was the beginning stage of occupying urban terrain. We went through establishing a foothold, the 'four-man stack,' and basic clearing and entering of a room. We then went into moving from room-to-room in order to clear a building," said Sales.
Pfc. Clayton Wells, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle gunner for the platoon, found the training to be a useful start to the year he'll spend with the unit. "We had a couple days of training and are out here getting ready for the big event to be done later this month at the Korean Training Center. It's been a good start," said Wells.
Spc. Tristan Minnis, a team leader with the platoon, has been in Korea for two years but still found it useful to start a training event from the earliest stages. "I was working with a reduced section today and it was a learning experience," said Minnis. "The most challenging thing was when I had a man go down. He got a (simulated) gunshot wound to the inner thigh. We had to pull security around him, talk to him, call in a (medical evacuation) and still work on accomplishing the mission."
The unit will continue to work through the "crawl/walk/run" phases of urban operations training and is scheduled for a larger training event later this month at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility, an urban operations training site located at the Korean Training Center.
Sales described the event as a useful exercise that helped identify strengths, weaknesses and skills to train further on. "We identified some weaknesses and we know what we need to work on," he said. "Some Soldiers can take the ball and run with it while others need some more training time. On a scale from one to 10, today I give them a six. We still have some work to do."