FORT IRWIN, Calif., -- As the sun begins to rise on the horizon of the U.S. Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., May 23, Heavy Company, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, sets out on a recovery mission to rescue a pilot from an aircraft crash.

The event is a simulation of a real mission the 2-3 ACR might respond to during an upcoming deployment to Iraq.

An NTC rotation is designed to test a variety of Soldier skills in a "battle real" environment. When the regiment deploys in late summer, their mission will be to advise and assist Iraqi Security Forces.

Heavy Company's training began just before 7 a.m. when the unit received an intelligence report about a downed aircraft. Just as they would in real combat, they immediately sent out a recovery team to rescue the pilot.

To give the simulation the feel of an ambush, Heavy Co. received insurgent small arms fire when they arrived to the crash site. One of the elements in the convoy quickly located where the fire was coming from and took control of the situation, but not before one of the gunners was injured.

All Soldiers and role players wear Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System gear. MILES gear simulates combat injuries and deaths, and emits a loud tone when a Soldier or role player is wounded or killed. When the tone is heard, other Soldiers in the area know to react to a casualty.

Heavy Co. secured the area and was able to pinpoint where the aircraft went down with help from local national actors.

"Before we moved in for the rescue, we had to have positive identification of the pilot," said Sgt. Ryan Perpich, a truck commander with Heavy Co.

The Soldiers are trained on a system, ISOPREPS, which allows them to make positive identifications of military personnel.

The Isolated Personnel Report System is designed so that only one person, the Soldier, would be able to correctly answer previously generated questions.

After a pre-designated team of Soldiers took the lead up the mountain to rescue him, positive identification of the pilot was made using ISOPREP data, while the rest of the company held its position as security.

Once the recovery team reached the pilot he was put on a stretcher and brought to safety.

The effectiveness of the simulation was evident as the Soldiers discussed the fate of the injured pilot.

"It is a good day when a fellow Soldier is rescued with only minor injuries," said Spc. Patrick Gallo, Heavy Co.

The 2-3 ACR will continue their NTC rotation through the beginning of early June.