By Story and photos by Spc. Cassandra M. Simonton, 116th Public Affairs DetachmentJune 24, 2010
RAPID CITY, S.D. - During the past two weeks, North Dakota Soldiers have been getting a taste of combat, albeit without the danger, during an intensive training exercise in South Dakota. The 191st Military Police Company, which is headquartered in Fargo, with detachments in Bismarck and Mayville, traveled to Rapid City, S.D., June 12 and will end their mission there today. They've been taking part in Golden Coyote, a military training exercise hosted by the South Dakota National Guard for nearly 2,200 service members.
The 191st trained on military operations in urban terrain, also called MOUT, which teaches Soldiers the proper way to clear buildings in an urban assault situationa, as well as how to take control of an objective, such as a particular building. As Soldiers moved through the urban-style course, they used paintball guns to simulate real fire. Beyond using the paintball guns, Soldiers had the opportunity to practice firing Mk-19 grenade launchers and .50 caliber machine guns. They also trained on search and destroy missions and other military tasks.
"The training is designed to give the people doing the courses a taste of what it's like," said 2nd Lt. Jordan D. Osowski, of Grand Forks, N.D., the officer in charge of the opposing forces challenging the military police at the MOUT site. "It was a learning experience for everyone involved."
Osowski's Soldiers with the 231st Brigade Support Battalion's Rear Detachment were acting as enemy forces. They found spots near the road to hide simulated improvised explosive devices to attack convoys as they drove through a training lane and then engaged them in battle. This activity not only provides training to the Soldiers coming through the exercise but allows the Soldiers playing the oppositional role a better idea of what to be alert for when traveling through hostile areas.
"We're playing the enemy, which prepares the units that come by for the things they can expect down range," said Spc. Dustin B. Pfeifle, of Fargo, N.D., one of the Soldiers involved in the exercise. "It's going well. There are some errors, but that's what training is for."
While one platoon was pretending to be the enemy, another participated in search and destroy missions, which took place across six square miles of the Black Hills forest where one platoon a day attempted to locate aviators from a simulated downed helicopter.
"We're here in a support role of the training exercise Golden Coyote," said Staff Sgt. Cody J. Johnson, of Bismarck, N.D., third platoon sergeant for the 191st.
His platoon located 12 pilots during the search and destroy mission.
"Everybody excelled extremely," Johnson said.
Finally, the Soldiers left Rapid City in a convoy to Guernsey, Wy., to use weapons ranges there to strive for a qualifying score on the unit's crew-served weapons, which are bigger than the individual weapons most Soldiers carry. The Soldiers fired grenade launchers there, as well as .50 caliber machine guns mounted on Humvees and Armored Security Vehicles.
Staff Sgt. Larry E. Fontaine, of Casselton, N.D., the noncommissioned officer in charge of the "enemy" forces for the exercise, said this year's annual training was going extremely well.
"We had four Soldiers receive coins from the 1st Army (South Dakota National Guard Headquarters)," Fontaine said. "Seventy-nine percent of these Soldiers are on their first annual training, and they are all learning a lot and having a great time."
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 600 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas. With a total force of about 4,400 Soldiers and Airmen, sufficient forces remain in the state for emergency response and homeland defense.
These and other Golden Coyote photos are available to download on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/NDGuard. Navigate to the photo set titled, "Golden Coyote 2010."
For more information
North Dakota Soldiers Learn How to Locate Downed Pilots in Black Hills (June 22, 2010)
Soldiers Role Play as Opposing Forces to Enhance Training in South Dakota (June 21, 2010)
Golden Coyote Training Continues with Varying Military Tasks (June 21, 2010)
Training Simulates Convoys in Combat Operations During South Dakota Exercise (June 16, 2010)
Soldiers Respond to Accident While at South Dakota Training Exercise (June 15, 2010)
National Guard to host 26th annual Golden Coyote exercise - South Dakota National Guard press release (May 28, 2010)