CAMP BULLIS, Texas (May 20, 2011) - U.S. Army South's Special Troops Battalion took time to sharpen Warrior skills during a field training exercise here May 16-20.
Successful accomplishment of the command's mission to enhance hemispheric security and stability within Central and South America and the Caribbean depends greatly on this type of training.
Remaining flexible and proficient with the capability to simultaneously conduct theater security cooperation, contingency operations, Title X support and serve as the executive agency for U.S. Southern Command and Department of the Army requires exceptional Soldiers ready to deal with a variety of challenges.
Referred to as an FTX, the training incorporated a variety of scenarios including squad training, reacting to direct fire, escalation of force procedures, room-clearing tactics, identifying and defeating improvised explosive devices, calling in medical evacuations, providing first aid, engaging targets with assigned weapons, conducting convoy missions, and effectively responding to and eggressing a vehicle during a rollover.
"You never know what contingency you're going to face or what environment you'll find yourself in," said Lt. Col. Charles Walters, STB commander. "This training helps to maintain the Soldier skills they need regardless of whether it's Iraq or within our area of focus. It helps to maintain those skills in case the situation arises."
At the Camp Bullis Combined Arms Collective Training Facility, a replicated urban environment, the Warriors put their skills to the test by engaging in simulated battles while conducting patrols and medical evacuation missions. Each scenario was unpredictable and sharpened the individual Soldier's skills as well as those of the leaders who planned the missions.
While focused on their overall mission, Army South Warriors must remain vigilant in the upkeep of their basic Soldier skills.
"We get caught up in the real-world missions," said 1st Sgt. Juan Munoz, Company B first sergeant. "But having Soldiers trained in the things they're supposed to be doing is our priority."
The importance of training is a common mantra among the Soldiers of Army South.
"We have to be a Soldier first," said Sgt. Carmen Lockett of Company B. "We must always know what to do in any situation by reacting quickly and efficiently in order to protect ourselves and our fellow Soldiers."
According to STB leaders, the FTX was designed to be as realistic as possible.
"It's very much like what you'd expect to encounter when you go on a patrol downrange," said 1st Sgt. Javier Rosa, Company A first sergeant. "The Soldiers had to deal with riots, IEDs, snipers, room-clearings and first aid. Regardless of whether we're in Afghanistan, Iraq or on a humanitarian mission somewhere in Latin America, these are important skills to have."