More than 5,000 Soldiers from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, have been trained and certified in preparation for the brigade's January 2018 rotation to the National Training Center (NTC), at Fort Irwin, California.The training the Soldiers received during the "Operation Raider Storm" training exercise prepared the formation for the complexities of potential adver�saries they could face while at NTC."We have to have a fundamental understanding, purpose, direction and motivation," said Col. Montè Rone, 1st SBCT commander. "We have to remain a fit, inspired, disciplined and trained formation in order to isolate and seize key pieces of terrain."Infantrymen, artillerymen, cavalry scouts and other mission-critical Soldiers set out to do just that -- secure terrain. The Soldiers from 1st SBCT spread throughout the Fort Carson training area to conduct situational training exercises (STX) and combined arms live-fire exercise (CALFEX) lanes.As the teams faced challenges, muscle memory kicked in."Our mission was to serve as the brigade quick reaction force," said Staff Sgt. Cory Pagliara, platoon sergeant, Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment. "It was a test in resilience when it came to being flexible, having to move on the fly very quickly, assessing the situation (and) then immediately having to go to another location and support.""Our platoon, along with elements of 3rd Platoon, were tasked with taking one of 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment's, main objectives at the last minute with very little prep time," said 2nd Lt. James Wagner, platoon leader, Company A, 4th Bn., 9th Inf. Reg. "We successfully seized the village although we lost 3rd Platoon in the process."Artillerymen with Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, fire an M777 Howitzer during the "Operation Raider Storm" training exercise Nov. 4. (Photo by Capt. Gregory R. Spraley) Artillerymen with Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, fire an M777 Howitzer during the "Operation Raider Storm" training exercise Nov. 4. (Photo by Capt. Gregory R. Spraley)The brigade's seven battalions conducted vital training during Operation Raider Storm.The 2nd Battalion, 1st Calvary Regiment, cavalry scouts conducted reconnaissance missions with the use of Raven unmanned aerial systems to forecast the location of the enemy and the 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, gun crews were certified on Howitzers during live-fire exercises.The 4th Brigade Support Battalion provided transportation, logistics and medical, including dental and physical therapy, to units while they defended their base operations with use of machine guns while the 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion sappers performed explosives breach training. Infantrymen with the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment; 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment; and 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment; used squad-level tactics to clear areas and ensure the local populace was safe and could return to their cities."I enjoyed being able to coach and mentor our young leaders and section chiefs," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Lawrence, cannon crew member, 2nd Bn., 12th FA. "They were able to overcome adversity in such a short period of time, while adhering to the new division artillery certification standards."From reconnaissance, air support, route clearing, artillery and infantry squads, each battalion simultaneously executed its plan, providing fire superiority while destroying and pushing back enemy forces."We worked on developing and exercising our systems to effectively provide cannon, rocket and close-air support fires accurately when and where they were needed to support the brigade commander's intent," said Maj. Nickolas Welch, brigade fires support officer. "One of our biggest challenges was communicating effectively down to the battalions and across mission command systems. However, we were able to overcome that by executing our primary, alternate, contingency and emergency plans by utilizing alternate communication systems."Town by town, each objective was seized and secured. Pockets of resistance were felt and continued to challenge Soldiers of the "Raider" Brigade throughout the exercise, causing the Soldiers to continuously re-evaluate the battlefield.The Raiders are closing in on their second visit to the California desert to put their battlefield skills to the test and overcome whatever challenges this NTC rotation throws at them.