Gunfire rang out across the mountainside as Soldiers moved through the woods toward the target area and engaged the simulated enemy. When the squad cleared the objective and had begun assessing the situation, the platoon leader came over the radio to tell his squad the mission was complete and to regroup on his position.Although this was only a rehearsal for the Soldiers assigned to Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), this field training exercise at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., Dec. 2-13., will serve them well in the future.Capt. Johnathan Green, executive officer, D Co., 3d U.S. Inf. Regt. (The Old Guard) said the unit is excited about the exercise because it's their culminating event prior to a deployment to the National Training Center [NTC] in Fort Irwin, Calif.D Co. is slated to augment 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa., during their pre-deployment rotation at the training center early next year."We are doing a lot of fun things out here that some of our newer Soldiers haven't necessarily done before to get them and us ready for NTC," said Green. "We'll be going over some of the basics first, and then get progressively harder at each level."So far this year, D Co. has also trained at other sites like Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. and Fort A.P. Hill, Va., all in anticipation for the deployment to NTC.D Co. is slated to augment 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa., during their pre-deployment rotation at the training center early next year.Junior leaders, like Spc. Nicholas Corby, infantryman, D Co., 3d U.S. Inf. Regt. (The Old Guard), began the first few days by calling for artillery support, requesting medical evacuation, and conducting squad-level live-fire drills.Corby said the two-week long training at Indiantown Gap was a great learning experience on how to lead and control his team to accomplish their mission even in hectic situations."We are coached to be proficient in communicating to our guys to ensure they know exactly where they need to be and what they need to do," said Corby. "As a leader, making sure we are safe and together is the most important thing out here, especially because we are shooting live rounds."The training D Co. did at Indiantown Gap is difficult to reproduce in the classroom."Unless we come out to places like this, we can't verify that our training is paying off," said Corby. "This is definitely getting us ready for NTC."After the first three days, the unit went on to conduct platoon- and company-level operations.Corby said the biggest challenge was the mountainous terrain, frigid temperatures and foreign surroundings; however they easily identified and overcame those issues."We weren't used to walking over the rocks, and it took a little adjusting to get used to the unstable ground," said Corby. "The fog and snow is pretty crazy in this area because of the mountains."He explained that learning to adapt to different climates was a huge part of the exercise.
Aside from the many challenges, there have been several perks to this training as well."We are using the same equipment that we'll be using at NTC, from communications to maintenance and vehicles," said Corby. "Soldiers are working with these systems now to transition smoothly when we get there."Green agreed."We have prepared to the standard," said Green. "We will be ready to help 3rd Brigade in whatever way they need us."