Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 6, 2024. By practicing excellence in the basics, Infantrymen are ready for any mission, local or abroad.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 6, 2024. By practicing excellence in the basics, Infantrymen are ready for any mission, local or abroad. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Stauffer) VIEW ORIGINAL
Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 7, 2024. By practicing excellence in the basics, Infantrymen are ready for any mission, local or abroad.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 7, 2024. By practicing excellence in the basics, Infantrymen are ready for any mission, local or abroad. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Stauffer) VIEW ORIGINAL
Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Jan. 6, 2024. By practicing excellence in the basics, Infantrymen are ready for any mission, local or abroad.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Jan. 6, 2024. By practicing excellence in the basics, Infantrymen are ready for any mission, local or abroad. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Stauffer) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — The 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, Bravo Company, conducted Battle Drill One Alpha at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Jan. 6, 2023.

The training was geared toward reacting to contact. The squad had no idea when or what they are going to get hit with. Their job was to quickly assess the situation and react accordingly. The added twist this time was putting the junior members in charge.

“We were putting them in leadership roles,” Cpl. Dilan Saeed said. “It’s to get them ready and plant that seed for their future and getting them to realize and know what a team leader has to do and what their job entails. We hope that they take our place one day.”

The training begins when the squad steps off for a patrol in the woods. They are given intelligence that there are potential hostiles in the area and ordered to find and neutralize them. In this case, the squad was ambushed by hostiles behind a wooded hill. Saeed’s team performed cover and move tactics to keep the hostiles pinned down so they could storm the hill.

Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 6, 2024. Infantrymen train monthly to be ready for any given mission, be it local or abroad.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 6, 2024. Infantrymen train monthly to be ready for any given mission, be it local or abroad. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Stauffer) VIEW ORIGINAL
Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 6, 2024. By practicing excellence in the basics, Infantrymen are ready for any mission, local or abroad.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Washington National Guard Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, react to contact during squad training, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Jan. 6, 2024. By practicing excellence in the basics, Infantrymen are ready for any mission, local or abroad. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Stauffer) VIEW ORIGINAL

Once they gained access to the hill, they swept the area, terminated any remaining hostiles and took inventory of all personnel, equipment and ammo. A member of Saeed’s team was a simulated casualty. The rest of the team had to get to a safe area, secure it and call for a medical evacuation.

“My favorite part is being with the guys,” said Saeed. “Even the not-so-fun stuff like being out here in the wet and cold. Pain and suffering is a cohesion and we go through it together and become closer as the training goes on.”

After the medevac request was sent, the training ended and an after-action review was conducted to highlight what went well and what needs to be corrected.

“It's a collective suffering,” said Pfc. Marcellus Thomson, one of the members under Saeed. “I don’t mind it though. We’re out here together embracing it.”

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