By Capt. Charles Patterson, 188th Infantry Brigade Public AffairsJune 18, 2009
FORT STEWART, Ga. "I'm proud to be back," said Private First Class Perry Oxendine, under a scorching sun at the Urban Operations training lane, June 15.
As the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team makes its final runs through the training gauntlet provided by First Army and the mobilization team at Fort Stewart, additional Soldiers out of the Individual Ready Reserve are stepping in to complete the mission that lies ahead.
"He's very positive and a great addition," boasted his company commander Capt. Josh Rapp.
In a few weeks, Pfc. Oxendine's unit, Company B, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, along with the rest of the 41st IBCT will be in Iraq, using skills practiced on this range.
The realism and interaction with the foreign language speakers and the way that the cultural role players affect the Soldier's decisions makes this one of the best urban operations training lanes that Capt. Rapp has seen.
"It gives the squad leaders a real chance to evaluate the Soldiers," Capt. Rapp said. "It also helps solidify the SOPs that the company has been practicing for months."
This, he said, is one of the reasons why it is so important that Pfc. Oxendine join their ranks now and become part of the team.
"These guys are already some of my best friends," Pfc. Oxendine said after the lane training concluded. He is from North Carolina, and deployed before with 1st Infantry Division, but he is integrating with the Oregon National Guard Soldiers quickly.
The unit has several IRR Soldiers that have joined them recently, and according to Capt. Rapp, it is a great fit.
The urban operations lane is a great chance to enhance their skills, learn from their leaders, and better prepare every Soldier in the unit, new and old, for the mission ahead, he said.