FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The fictional age-old conflict between the oil rich Republic of Atropia and power-hungry country Donovia continues to cause destabilization in the region with terror caused by insurgency and displacement of innocent citizens trapped in conflict.
Soldiers of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, spent the month of September defending the notional internationally recognized border of the Republic of Atropia against Donovian aggression during a deployment to the National Training Center (NTC) in Fort Irwin, California.
The training scenario was part of NTC Decisive Action Rotation 15-10 and provided the brigade with experience in everything from stability operations to high-intensity conflict operations.
"Having first trained at NTC over 23 years ago, I reminded Soldiers and leaders that I walked away from each combat training center rotation a more competent and confident leader," said Col. David Hodne, commander, 1st SBCT, 4th Infantry Division. "Seeing these great Soldiers perform with distinction in the Mojave Desert, I know they are more confident in themselves, their equipment, their leaders and their formation. This brigade is well-trained and ready to perform any mission the Army requires."
Soldiers proved during the rotation that they're well-trained not only in their job specialties but also on fundamental Soldier skills.
First Sgt. Erric Allen, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st SBCT, 4th Infantry Division, said that the common goal of contributing to the fight is what led to the brigade's successful deployment at NTC.
"We took on a mindset of every rifle, every muzzle, every round counts," said Allen, who organized the brigade tactical operations center defense. "When you are defending and securing, it's not about your specific discipline or your specific MOS. It's about the team, having a strong perimeter and everyone coming together inside your patrol base for a common goal so no one gets in."
Soldiers like Spc. Brody Cummings, paralegal specialist, HHC, 1st SBCT, 4th Infantry Division, became responsible for tasks like establishing the TOC, maintaining generators, guard shifts, serving dinner chow, and responding to chemical and physical attacks on the perimeter.
"It was an eye-opening experience," said Cummings, a native of San Jose, California. "I know I didn't do nearly as much as the infantry, but what I was doing was completely different than what I'm used to."
By the culmination of the scenario and live-fire engagement, the brigade validated its deployment viability with the immense training value provided at NTC.
"NTC Rotation 15-10 was critically important to this brigade combat team and Fort Carson writ large," said Hodne. "Not only did we get to test the tactical, operational, and strategic mobility characteristic of highly agile Stryker formations, but our overwhelming victory over the opposing forces throughout the entire rotation validated 18 months of effort in building the Army's newest SBCT. I am incredibly proud of our Soldiers and leaders."