Missile defenders hone Soldier skills
March 19, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Soldiers in the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) honed their Soldiering skills during the brigade's field training exercises March 4-8.
Headquarters Battery organized the five-day event that started with a refresher land navigation course, followed by shooting the 9mm pistol and throwing hand grenades, and on the last day, doing a presence patrol through a village.
This type of training is not offered to the brigade often.
"Any instance for 'opportunity training' in a field environment only enhances and reinforces previously taught tasks," said Capt Ronald Bailey, HHB commander and organizer of the FTX. "Classroom training really only satisfies the 'crawl' phase of training progression, where field training moves it up into the 'walk/run' phase. Soldiers gains confidence in their proficiency on the tasks under additional environmental stresses."
During the land navigation portion, Soldiers used maps and compasses, as well as terrain association, to find their five points. Some of the Soldiers have not used these skills since they were in basic training or at a leader development school.
On the second day of training, the Soldiers went inside to the Engagement Skills Trainer, or EST2000, a simulation range with life-like 9mm pistols that use laser sensors as the bullets.
The simulation allows Soldiers to get the feel of the weapon and practice loading and unloading it, and it can even simulate a night environment to shoot in.
After completing EST2000, the Soldiers did some live shooting on the 9mm qualification range. This is something the unit does on a yearly basis.
On the fourth day of the exercise, the Soldiers threw inert grenades at the hand grenade qualification range. The range allows Soldiers to get the feel of holding a grenade in their hand, pull the pin and hurl the body toward several targets. There were six lanes set up that required the thrower to use several stances, techniques and approaches.
Throwing grenades is a rare opportunity for most Soldiers, particularly those who work in missile defense.
The last day of training combined several basic skills a Soldier is required to have: lead troops, shoot, and deal with issues and civilians on the battlefield.
The Soldiers mission was to conduct a presence patrol through a Military Operations on Urban Terrain, or MOUT, village where there were known snipers. The Soldiers broke into teams and those who were not patrolling the village, acted as the villagers. Some were armed with paintball guns; others just made noise or tried to sell things to those on patrol.
"This allowed the Soldiers to get out of their offices and away from the normal staff/crew grind," said 1st Sgt. Robert Cunningham, HHB first sergeant and one of the organizers of the event. "The Soldiers experienced what it means to work as a team away from an office or conference table."
The camaraderie and teamwork that was built made for an enjoyable time, according to Staff Sgt. Kristine Bombard, brigade supply noncommissioned officer in charge.
"My favorite part of the FTX was participating in Range 60 [village]," said Bombard, who spent most her day screaming, "bad man," at the teams patrolling the village. "Being able to take all of the elements of Army Warrior Tasks and Drills and applying them altogether on the MOUT site like we will do in combat is always fun and exciting, and builds so much camaraderie among the unit. It really gives us a lot to laugh about later on!"
After the unit's objectives were met on the last day, the Soldiers played capture the flag using the village as their course. Paintballs flew and Soldiers ran as they tried to defend their team's flag.
"The events went well. The Soldiers learned and had fun at the same time," said Cunningham.
This type of training is something that the unit's leaders intend on building on and doing more of.
According to Bailey, HHB is already planning the next FTX.
"Not only is there a great desire by the Soldiers and leadership within the brigade headquarters for more training of this nature, HHB is planning for an August 2013 FTX that expands further the fidelity and quality of the training," said Bailey.