By Sgt. Jennifer Premer, 45th Sustainment Brigade Public AffairsSeptember 23, 2008
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - American Soldiers surrounded the building and rushed in to secure it as men with faces partially obscured by turbans taunted the Soldiers. This scene, however, is not one from the battlefield of Iraq or Afghanistan, but from the 45th Sustainment Brigade's level one predeployment certification training, which took place Sept. 8-11 at the Command Sgt. Maj. Walter J. "Sabo" Sabalauski Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) site here. The 71st Chemical Company, 45th Sustainment Bde., created the training scenarios and ran the stations during the four-day training exercise. Capt. Wilbert Alverado, commander of the 71st Chemical Co. said his unit's Soldiers put the training together. "I put the idea in their head, and they ran with it," Alverado said. The Soldiers worked exhausting hours, coming in as early as 2 a.m. to set up the site, prepare the scenarios and ensure things ran smoothly during the important training days. "From my experience, almost every Soldier encounters a situation where they have to conduct a combat-related mission or tasking while deployed; there is no specific (military occupational specialty) that performs these tasks in today's Army, so everyone should be trained," said Sgt. Kealii Sequeira, a squad leader with the 71st Chemical Co., 45th Sustainment Bde. The Soldiers going through the training agreed with Sequeira. "Every Soldier should be trained in these basic skills; you're a Soldier first, and we all need to maintain that attitude," said Staff Sgt. Alejando Romar, a maintenance management noncommissioned officer (NCO) with Headquarters Co., 45th Sustainment Bde. The 71st worked hard to replicate situations that take place on the battlefield. Sgt. 1st Class Lester Gittens, a platoon sergeant with the 71st Chemical Co., was in charge of the urban operations portion. "I chose a building with different floors and multiple rooms, so the Soldiers would have multiple areas to cordon off, which is what the Soldiers are doing downrange," Gittens said.For all the 71st's hard work, Soldiers who participated in the training appreciated the knowledge and skills they gained. "This is awesome," said Staff Sgt. Harrison Brewer, Headquarters Co., 45th Sustainment Bde. "I've never been in a unit where I had to don a chemical suit and mask and then train while wearing it." "All the instructors, even the junior enlisted Soldiers, were well informed and well prepared," said Staff Sgt. Rene Melendez, an administrative NCO with Headquarters Co. "Overall, it was great training." In addition to the deployment preparation, Soldiers gained valuable experience in other areas during training. "Not only is this good training, it's a good team-building activity and a good way to orient new Soldiers," said 2nd Lt. Kevin White, a platoon leader with Bravo Co., 45th Sustainment Bde. "It's different being out here than in the office," said Sgt. Justin Wilson, an administrative specialist with Headquarters Co. "When you get out and train, you see what people are made of." At the end of the week, when everything was said and done, Soldiers departed with a good feeling. "It was a pleasure and an honor to be awarded the task of training these Soldiers," said Alvarado. "Although I'm not deploying, it's been great to play a part in the safety of these troops." "We sweat and bleed out here during training so that we don't while we're deployed," said Romar.