The best training a Soldier can receive in the Army is as realistic as possible. That's why Company E, 1st Battalion, 72nd Armored Regiment used live demolitions during urban operations training Oct. 9 at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex.
The purpose of using live explosives is to teach Soldiers how to gain entry into a building safely and effectively in order to complete the mission.

"The door breach is made using a silhouette charge with detonation cord so that the dismounted infantry can go in and conduct their searches and raids," said Sgt. Denzel Annan, a combat engineer for Co. E, 1-72.

For some, this was their first experience using live explosives in conjunction with training in an urban environment. "I'm straight from AIT where you get told everything that you're going to do and what to expect, but it's nothing compared to when you actually use live demo," said Pvt. Alfred Leato, a combat engineer for Co. E. "I'd never put up a silhouette charge before today and it was more intense than I thought it'd be."

With live explosives being used, the importance of communication is emphasized, as carelessness could result in injury or even death.

"Communication is what will get you killed in this business," said 2nd Lt. Jared Demello, executive officer and 1st platoon leader for Co. E. "If you don't use it effectively, especially during demolition, you're going to lose people."

The CACTF environment itself is another great tool for training, as it is equipped with state of the art technology in order to give Soldiers a sense of being on an actual battlefield.

"They have the buildings wired with sound generators that can play everything from gunfire to children's laughter, and smell generators that can simulate burning gasoline to fresh baked bread," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Sperber, acting first sergeant of Co. E. "It adds a level of realism to the training."

The training ground also has cameras and microphones in almost every room and building, which allow leaders the ability to spot flaws and errors during the mission and then go over them with the Soldiers during the After Action Review.

"It's like playing a football game. You get to watch the tape, see what you did and make improvements for down the road," Demello said. "We have a lot of great training resources here and we're utilizing them to the best of our abilities."

Although this type of training was a new experience for some of the Soldiers, leaders of Co. E are more than satisfied with the outcome of the training.

"The new Soldiers performed exceptionally well, they had great noncommissioned officers that did a fantastic job of training them and I have full confidence when they do eventually deploy they'll come back safe," Demello said.