CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait-Empty training villages set up amongst the sand dunes of Kuwait are not an uncommon site for Soldiers on their way to Iraq. Today, one of these villages stages as the training ground for the cavalry scouts of 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, as they practice dismounted patrols focused at a platoon level.

Training participants came from different platoons across the squadron.

"We believe that our mission [in Iraq] is going to be primarily dismounted," said Dallas native Lt. Col. Andy Shoffner, 4th Sqdrn., 9th Cav. Regt. commander.

The training focused on skills Soldiers developed during exercises at Fort Hood, Texas and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.

"This training is geared toward development," said, Shelby, N.C. native 1st Lt. Gary Quach, a platoon leader in 4th Sqdrn., 9th Cav. Regt.

It allows us to integrate our new Soldiers and mesh the experienced non-commissioned officers with the experienced troops, said 2nd Lt. Christopher Minter, a platoon leader in 4th Sqdrn., 9th Cav. Regt.

"This is solidifying what we have already learned," said Minter.

For a Squadron that is primarily a mounted force, this type of training is uncommon.

"It is one of the few chances we have to do a full rehearsal," said Minter, who calls New Kent, Va. home.

This training focused on clearing buildings, combat patrols, locating improvised-explosive devices and setting up a perimeter around them.

"It is roughly one-third to one-half of the Soldiers' first time deploying," said Quach. "[It] helps get them used to movement in a village."

Quach also said that it gets the scouts accustomed to walking around the local populace. He said it can be a frightening idea for Soldiers who haven't done it before.

For 4th Sqdrn., 9th Cav. Regt. scouts, this was a chance to hone their fighting skills and practice tactics.

"I recommend anyone to take this opportunity," said Minter.

The training also worked on improving the platoon leaders' leadership skills and troop leading procedures, which is an eight-step process that is necessary when planning for a mission. It was also a chance to work together as a team toward completing a mission.

"Anytime a platoon leader can get his platoon out, that improves cohesion," said Shoffner.