By Spc. Dustin Gautney, 2nd BCT Public AffairsAugust 15, 2008
FORT STEWART, GA -- A team of Soldiers move quickly through a long dark hallway. With rifles at the ready, the team moves as if it's a single being.
"Door left," the lead soldier shouts, alerting the rest of the team of the upcoming possible danger.
This scene could have easily taken place in Iraq; however, it did not. It is part the urban operations training, just one phase of the 10-day Individual Readiness Training exercise at Evans Field.
"Everything the Soldiers experience here has been designed based from our own real world experiences in Iraq," said Staff Sgt. James Masterson, 260th Quartermaster Battalion and Evans Field IRT instructor. "We strive to recreate the combat experience for these Soldiers to better prepare them for battle in Iraq"
The 10-day training exercise includes individual weapons training, convoy operations, react to direct and indirect fire, vehicle and personnel search, media on the battlefield, and urban operations.
The training, used to augment a unit's Mission Readiness Training, provides essential training to individuals who couldn't get the training with their unit - mostly due to Soldiers newly arriving. Not all Soldiers who go through the training are new to service in Iraq; however, they must attend the training.
Hunter Army Airfield's 260th Quartermaster Battalion act as cadre, opposing forces, media and general instructors for one to two IRT sessions a month to better prepare Soldiers for deployment. The 39 instructors who make up the IRT cadre train about 250 Soldiers per cycle.
"A lot of these Soldiers never experienced this type of training, even during basic training," said Cpl. Bernard Villa, an IRT instructor. "Even though this is a safe environment this training is designed to be very fast paced and aggressive but most importantly realistic."
The 10-day training concludes in a single full day exercise referred to as the "Capstone," explains Masterson.
The Capstone event is a culmination of everything learned during IRT training in a real-time exercise. Soldiers will be tasked to move in a convoy, which will be taking direct and indirect fire, take casualties, successfully locate an informant and safely secure the area of a hostile Iraqi village.
The Soldiers will be under constant fire as well as grenade simulations. All of this, Masterson explains, maintains a realistic combat environment for the Soldiers.