YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. - It was midday. The sunrays showered down on the prairie ground below. A gust of wind kicked up the soft dust that made up the soil. In the distance, an enemy vehicle moved into position against U.S. forces.The vehicle sped up a hill, stopped and opened the back door. Soldier after soldier moved out with weapons in hand and got low to the ground. The squad began bounding forward, sweating and breathing heavily under the load of their body armor.The machine gunner peered through his sight, searching for U.S. soldiers.This was the simulated role of Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, during Bayonet Focus 17-03, June 15-29, at Yakima Training Center, Washington. These Soldiers played the opposing force (OPFOR) against the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, during the exercise.The role of the OPFOR was to provide the 2-2 SBCT an opportunity to train against a peer to near-peer enemy," said Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron Spahl, 5-20th Inf. Regt., 1-2 SBCT. This creates a more realistic environment and prepares 2-2 SBCT for their upcoming National Training Center rotation.What makes the training different from other home station training is the scale, said Spahl. It is much larger, more complex and much more difficult.Spahl and the rest of the 5-20th Inf. Regt., known as Sykes' Regulars, wore black fatigues and adorned their Stryker vehicles with the flags of the fictitious enemy: the Donovians. This helped distinguish their unit as conventional enemy forces."We are also using the black uniform of the Donovian army as a tool for our own Soldiers," Spahl said. "It helps them get into the role and understand exactly what they are providing 2-2 SBCT by being out here and playing the opposing force in this scenario."The role of the Skyes' Regulars was to help the 2-2 SBCT understand the importance of executing mission command as a war fighting function and coordinating those actions at the battalion and brigade level, Spahl said."We imparted the importance of not underestimating a numerically inferior enemy and their ability to execute bold plans," Spahl said.According to Spahl, his battalion gained valuable insight they otherwise would not have learned if not for this exercise. The training gave them an advanced look at battalion and collective training.The training also allowed them to get out and see a peer-strength enemy and maneuver against them, Spahl explained. This allowed them to really get a feel for what it is that they are going to be required to do in the future."In regards to our own training, we are looking to get after our own battalion-level and company-level systems and processes that will allow us to be successful for our NTC rotation," said Spahl. "It has been challenging and it has been tough, but we have been identifying short falls that we did not know were there in our own systems and processes."We are learning a lot of great lessons," Spahl added. "We are taking full advantage of these opportunities as we move forward into our training cycle."