By Cheryl RodewigMarch 27, 2009
Locals were playing soccer; others were calling from building windows or shouting things like "Captain America" and "G.I. Joe" from the dirt street. If SPC Andrew Herendeen learned anything during his third field training exercise, it was "the chaos of urban operations," he said. "There's a lot to pay attention to. It's hard to know what's important, what we should be focusing on, and what is just extra," said Herendeen, one of 238 Soldiers in B Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, who conducted scenario-driven training March 17 on Malone MOUT. FTX 3 is a culminating event, combining all individual and collective tasks the basic trainees learned during the cycle and preparing them for missions in theater, said CPT Michael Johnston, B Company commander. "When you're actually out on a patrol, reacting to any situation requires the complete package of what we train our Soldiers out here," he said. "We're training them how to think, not what to think." Two squads of basic trainees ran through the exercise at a time. Their mission was to provide security for a police recruiting station. When a bomb detonated at the station, followed by gunfire, the Soldiers had to respond to the situation. "It's one thing when you're in an open field practicing, but it's another when you're in a role-play environment," said SPC Dan Ireland, a squad leader. "Marksmanship, simple four-man team operations, first aid, squad movements, we put that all together here with a unique set of challenges. Prior to this, you would know what's going to happen. Here, it was reality, multiple things happening at the same time." The experience was overwhelming, Ireland said, but he learned the importance of clear communication and good leadership. "It's not the movies," he said. "The movies, it's all action, it's all, 'Go save the day.' Here, there's a whole set way of doing things. I wanted to run right into the thick of it, but the truth of it is, being a leader, that's not necessarily the right thing to do." After completing the exercise, Ireland said he feels better prepared for next time, whether that's in training or in combat. B Company will graduate Thursday.