Private First Class Carl Decosta, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, provides security during a mission in Medina Wasl, Oct. 12. Medina Wasl is a mock-Iraqi town used for training at Fort Irwin, Calif.

<b> FORT IRWIN, Calif. </b>- The quiet town of Medina Wasl with its bike shop and small cafAfA is positioned right below Forward Operating Base King at the National Training Center. Although 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division had just set up their operations center at the FOB, role-playing insurgents have "attacked" civilians and Soldiers alike.

The realistic town is full of an arsenal capable of creating the perfect "worst day in Iraq" for Soldiers going through it. Fake Rocket-Propelled Grenades fly across wires strewn about the town, the charred frame of a humvee sits on the side of the main road, and insurgents mingle with scared civilians, camouflaging their presence better than any uniform. Right outside the town, a small convoy of Soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment and the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team's Personal Security Detachment wait for the green light to enter the town and pick up the "injured" personnel, Oct. 12.

"Today, we had a mass casualty in Medina Wasl," said 1st Sgt. Barry Robinson, C Co., 2/7 Inf. "Our element was there to support the local population in conducting a casualty evacuation of friendly forces that were in the town as well as local civilians that were injured in an insurgent bombing. We came in, secured the town, evacuated local nationals and coalition forces that were injured."

Upon entering the town, the Soldiers immediately secured the casualties with the help of role-playing Iraqi Police forces, and moved them to a casualty collection point outside the city for medical aid. Several casualties were evacuated via helicopter.

"Our mission went very well considering these elements haven't work together," said 1st Sgt. Robinson. "We haven't worked with the Personal Security Detachment. We learned a lot from one another."

The National Training Center also enlists the help of Soldiers and civilians who are amputees in order to role-play injured personnel.

"The training did get the Soldiers pumped up," said 1st Sgt. Robinson. "I didn't go into the town myself. I was at the casualty collection point, but I could hear my Soldiers over the net, and they sounded pretty motivated and felt like they were the real thing."

After the scenario is over and the senior noncommissioned officers are at the after action report, laughs and oaths are exchanged between lower enlisted Soldiers, retelling their tales to their battle buddies of their role.

Although joking now, these same Soldiers were short of breath and full of adrenaline not more than an hour earlier, learning lessons they won't soon forget.

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