'Grey Wolf' Soldiers train underground
April 14, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - Beams of light pierced the darkness of the tunnel, revealing musty corridors and possible enemy hiding places. At the front of the beam, only rifle tips and dark silhouettes of Soldiers could be seen maneuvering through the black.
During the training event, the troops moved stealthily down the passageways, clearing rooms and detaining suspects. The Soldiers worked professionally and proficiently, making few mistakes.
Many of the Soldiers were new to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and had been training for only a few months.
"All of our (noncommissioned officers) have been saying we are doing really well," said Pvt. Michael Gonzales.
The training took place the entire week of April 7 on West Fort Hood in underground tunnels, a change of landscape from the unit's usual training around the battalion area.
Gonzales, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., said some of the veterans were grateful for the training area because they had trained primarily around the barracks before they deployed.
"They said we were really lucky getting up in the tunnels," he said.
He added that the tunnels provided them with a variety of simulated environments.
"We have rooms on the other side that are like small houses," Gonzales said. He added that they also used the corridors as alleyways.
Sgt. Humberto Dovalina said the troops conducted simulated night missions during the day, by turning of the lights in the tunnels.
Dovalina said the training relates to the Soldiers' future deployment to Iraq because they are going into an area they are unfamiliar with.
"This training relates pretty well, especially with the way we are dealing with the (opposing force), like getting close to people's faces and not understanding the language," said Dovalina, a native of Eagle Pass, Texas.
The Soldiers training in the tunnels have shown improvement since they arrived to the unit, said Dovalina.
"I know that when they came here they really didn't know too much about it," he said. "We've been doing a lot of training back in garrison," said Dovalina. "Coming out here and actually having them see and do it with full gear, has been giving them a better opportunity (for improvement.)
"They have been advancing pretty quickly."
Both 'Grey Wolf' troopers Dovalina and Gonzalez feel the Soldiers will be ready for the brigade's next deployment.
"They said the only thing we have left to work on is our speed, but that will come naturally later," said Gonzales.