PIÑON CANYON MANEUVER SITE, Colo. - The 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, conducted a two-week culminating training exercise at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site to execute tactical combat missions over a range of military operations in simulated combat conditions.

"Operation Eagle Strike" was designed to train and prepare the brigade on various tasks the Soldiers would perform in a combat environment.

"We have a responsibility in the Army to be ready to fight tonight and that's our focus," said Col. W. Scott Gallaway, 4th CAB commander.

In a simulated combat environ¬ment, Soldiers were confronted with many stressful scenarios to include ambush, battlefield casualties, medical evacuation and direct and indirect target engagement among other scenarios.

Communication, movement and awareness were some of the essential tasks Soldiers executed throughout the exercise.

"It is important for everyone in our team to know their role, so when it comes to real life scenarios, it becomes second nature," said Capt. Allen Byrne, 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion physician assistant.

The Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system is a growing capability the Army is using, Gallaway added.

Although the Gray Eagle did not leave the Fort Carson area, it was an asset to the training exercise, providing the ground forces with information on the enemy movement.

Observers from various instal¬lations provided the command team with immediate feedback and assisted them on achieving their training objectives through after-action reviews.

A few miles away from the training area, the 4th CAB set up a static display to strengthen and foster a good relationship with the surrounding community. Members of the community had the opportunity to engage with Fort Carson leaders and observe military equipment.

"Partnership with local com¬munity is important for us," said Maj. Bradley Gates, 4th CAB executive officer.

The static display in¬cluded CH-47F Chinook from Company B, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th CAB, and UH-60 Black Hawk MedEvac from Company C, 2nd GSAB.

"I have never been out here before and I think this is really cool," said Monica Schaaf, Trinidad information technology executive. "I have never been in a helicopter and I just want to go for a ride."

Trinidad resident Barry Thorne showed his appreciation for the opportunity to see the mechanical and capabilities of the CH-47F Chinook by thanking Staff Sgt. John Romanello from Company B, 2nd GSAB, for giving him a tour of the aircraft.

"I thank you, I appreciate you," Barry said. "This is a walk down memory lane."

The training allowed the brigade to maneuver over long distances and implement various ways to use mission command and communication to synchronize their force.

"The best thing we can do to protect our Soldiers is to make sure they are trained and ready," Gates said.