By Angelika Lantz, 21st Theater Sustainment Command Public AffairsOctober 10, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - The distinct cackle of machine gun fire and the ear-piercing detonation of a simulated vehicle born improvised explosive device are not the sounds associated with a U.S. Army kaserne in Germany that hosts a two-star, theater-level command headquarters.
But now that a Forward Operating Base training site has been built at Panzer Kaserne, these sounds are much more common here. Recently the Soldiers of the 92nd Military Police Company tested the new facility when they conducted a field training exercise Sept. 29 to Oct.2 at FOB Panzer.
The FOB was build for exactly the type of training the 72 Soldiers of the 92nd MP Co. need most - training that helps prepare Soldiers for contingency operations and missions in support of operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.
The realistic setting at FOB Panzer provides a great backdrop for their training, said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Brenckle, 92nd MP Co. operations sergeant. The training site resembles an Iraqi village and has multi-story structures to practice entering and securing a building. It is also large enough to train establishing and defending perimeters.
However, the best part for him was observing the Soldiers. "This is a great opportunity for the Soldiers. I love seeing how they learn and how they grow with each run-through," he said.
Sgt. 1st Class Tony Rosado, 1st platoon sergeant, 92nd MP Co., also praised FOB Panzer for adding an element of realism and flexibility that increases the caliber of training and provides the MP Soldiers with different scenarios, which they may likely encounter when they deploy.
"Being out here is a great opportunity and offers quite a few challenges for the Soldiers. Training is crucial," said Rosado. "It means Soldiers get to practice and learn, and learning means they develop and grow. Being here, training here really fosters team work, good team work within the platoons."
This is a sentiment the platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Michael Barnhart, agrees with. "The best training value probably comes from the interactions the Soldiers have with one another. Being out in field for a week is great. We can focus solely on the training. There are no distractions," he said.
Furthermore, there is the layout and the advantages associated with training at the site, which is about 10-square acres in dimension and includes the FOB and a simulated Iraqi village.
There are nine buildings in the village to include a mosque, a farm house, two store fronts, and an auto repair shop as well as a market place. The FOB can bed about 120 Soldiers. There is a field dining facility, an aid station and a Tactical Operations Center.
There is also a 50-by-75 foot combatives pit filled with 24-inches Rhine River sand. There are guard towers at each of the four corners of the FOB, an entry-control point, and a close quarters marksmanship training facility, which is used for teaching the fundamentals of room clearing.
"We train and learn fundamentals here that can easily be incorporated into larger settings. Being here even instills a certain cultural awareness," Barnhart said.