FORT BENNING, Ga. -- With harsh terrain and high temperatures similar to what they'd face during combat operations in the Middle East, the 1st Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade conducted its first-ever live fire training at Cactus Range, Nov. 6.

The battalion-level training exercise combined movement and maneuver training with integration of indirect fire. A mortar live fire was used to allow the forward observers to train on calling for fire and observing fire.

Along with the 1st SFAB, Task Force 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, participated in the exercise moving and maneuvering with 1st SFAB and providing fire support.

Both units were given a list of training objectives such as tactical movement with integrated advise-assist teams, controlling team maneuver under fire and tactical movement with an integrated security force.

"Task Force 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment is attached to and supporting the 1st SFAB as a security force element," said Maj. Matthew Fontaine, 1st SFAB public affairs officer. "As a security force element, the battalion is training with 1st SFAB advisor teams to build unit cohesion for any future missions. The security force element's mission is to secure the advisor team, so the advisors can focus on supporting their foreign security force partners."

During this exercise, the combat advisor teams were tested and familiarized themselves with equipment they may use when they go downrange.

"The purpose of this training was to incorporate air, fires and maneuver in order to synchronize lethality," said Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Silvis, 1st SFAB fire support noncommissioned officer.

Furthermore, the battalion used this opportunity to improve their squad-level leadership skills such as working with Virtual Battlespace (VBS3).

"The virtual training allows us to get repetitions using notional assets that are not readily available because of mission, range, ammo and time requirements in training," said Silvis. "It's not our first choice, but it allows our Soldiers to maintain their proficiency and build efficiency so that when we have limited real world assets, we're able to make the best use of them."

"This training is similar to when the combat advisor teams are out training, advising, assisting and they come in contact with an enemy force they are prepared to call in fire support," said Lt. Col. Melvin S. Jackson, the 1st SFAB's fire support officer.

SFABs are permanent, additive force structure. They are being developed and deployed as a solution to an enduring Army requirement in support of the defense strategy. Soldiers interested in joining 1st SFAB should contact their branch manager.