By Pfc. Zoe GarbarinoJanuary 17, 2018
FORT POLK, La. -- Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade engaged in a simulated key leader engagement and casualty evacuation with Afghan National Army role players during their mission readiness exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Jan. 15.
The scenario was designed as part of a month-long rotation to prepare the 1st SFAB for their first deployment as a brigade in the spring of 2018. Their mission is to accomplish theater security objectives by training, advising, assisting, accompanying, and enabling allied and partnered indigenous security forces.
The training event kicked off with a key leader engagement. 1st SFAB Soldiers supported the ANA role players while they met a village elder, mayor and police chief.
"Instead of being in control of the situation, we let the Afghans take the reins and provided assistance when needed," said Capt. Christopher Young, a combat advisor team leader for 2nd Battalion, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade and a southern California native.
After the key leader engagement, the advisors worked with their ANA partners to respond to and neutralize a threat. From there, 1st SFAB Soldiers advised the ANA soldiers on how to treat the casualties and request a medical evacuation helicopter.
"For this particular scenario, they did a great job," said Staff Sgt. Lavern Schwartz, an observer-controller at JRTC. "They picked up some of the indicators so they were able to minimize the amount of casualties. They let the Afghans run the show and assisted when needed."
SFABs will likely sustain a higher deployment tempo than other conventional Army units, which will focus on training for decisive action. This particular JRTC rotation is different than others because SFABs will perform a different mission than most brigade combat teams.
"I think JRTC is a lot more complex now," Young said. "When I came to JRTC before, I knew what my mission was going to be and we went and executed the mission. Now we don't really have a mission of our own because we're involved in their (ANA) mission and planning so it's a bit more challenging but this training is going to prepare us for that."
Schwartz said that overall this training is going to help them provide a better working relationship between them and the Afghan National Defense Security Forces and help the SFABs accomplish with their mission.
"I think we're ready," Young said. "I'm really motivated for this SFAB and I think it's a really good step in the right direction to building partnerships with the Afghan people."