Battle-focused training refreshes warrior skills
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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - The best way to make combat ready Soldiers is to train them in replicated battlefield conditions; it gives them focus.

After Advanced Individual Training graduation and before moving on to their duty or home station, engineer and ordnance Soldiers complete eight days of Battle Focused Training with Company G, 169th Engineer Battalion.

"Golf Company's mission is to transform engineer and ordnance Advanced Individual Training graduates into tactically competent, combat ready Soldiers who are prepared to take their place in the ranks of the U.S. Army," said Capt. Brett Medsker, Co. G, 169th Engr. Bn. commander.

Battle Focused Training does that by refreshing Advanced Individual Training graduates in their knowledge of warrior tasks and battle drills in a field environment, Medsker said.

"During the Soldier's AIT Course (varying in length from 4 to 20 weeks), Soldiers are focused on learning their MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) skills and training on tasks and drills is limited and spread throughout the course. BFT refreshes these skills, ensuring they are tactically competent and can perform in their unit. This is an important mission, because in some cases, Soldiers that complete BFT are deployed within 14-30 days of arriving at their unit," Medsker said.

"Soldiers are trained primarily at a Tactical Training Base. Additional training takes place at the Range 33 Shoothouse, Engagement Skills Trainer and various dismounted and Military Operations in Urban Terrain training areas," Medsker said.

Co. G was in the shoot house phase of BFT, at Range 33, Tuesday.

Pvt. Terrell Randall, Co. G, 169th Engr. Bn., a heavy equipment operator, completed the room clearing exercise - the scenario teaches Soldiers to quickly identify and neutralize hostile targets in close quarters.

"We learned that communication is the key to successfully clear a house," Randall said.

The skills learned in BFT will help Soldiers in future missions, Randall said.

"It's like getting a bunch of tools to put in our toolbox, and when we need them, we can pull them out and use them," Randall said.

The eight-day combat skills refresher course is a lot of fun, Randall said.

"The more time that we spend in the field, the more I love it," Randall said.

The course is designed around the platoon sergeant and squad leader concept, Medsker said.

"Soldiers are trained in small groups by their instructor (who is also the squad leader). Primarily, training is conducted in a field environment," Medsker said.

In December 2004, BFT was approved as a new course at Fort Leonard Wood to maximize resources and optimize flow of training, Medsker said.

"The company receives Soldiers from four off-site locations, which lack adequate resources to fully execute training according to TRADOC requirements of conducting warrior tasks and battle drills in AIT, along with a Field Training Exercise," Medsker said.

Co. G has had this mission since its activation, in May 2008, Medsker said. After Soldiers complete BFT, it's up to Co. G to send them on their way.

"Golf Company has a secondary mission of out-processing these Soldiers and shipping them to their first duty or home station," Medsker said.