FORT HOOD, Texas -- As Soldiers dismounted vehicles and establish security Tuesday, team leaders approach a heavily armed facility where three men in Middle Eastern attire armed with weapons stand guard. These teams are ushered by the guards into a dim illuminated room where town officials await their arrival on a single carpet covering a dirt floor.
More than 50 "Warrior Diplomats" from A Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, conducted a civil military operations focused situational training exercise consisting of various scenarios at the Boaz Military Operations in Urban Terrain Site here Jan. 31.
"During the STX Soldiers react to improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire, and conducted training under a simulated chemical environment," said Capt. Johnny R. Anderson, a civil affairs team leader. "But the main focus of today's event is on the key leader engagement portion of training because these engagements bridge the gap between the foreign national civilian population and the U.S. military."
Civil affairs teams consist of four-Soldier team elements. A standard team will consist of a team leader, team sergeant, civil affairs non-commissioned officer, and a team medic. Their mission is diplomacy.
"They're the diplomatic force that enables us to better understand our allies in other countries," said Col. Leo J. Ruth II, commander, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.
Anderson's team is one of five from A Co. conducting training here at the Military Operations In Urbanized Terrain site. While these training scenarios were not formally evaluated, they were used to assess the effectiveness of civil affairs team standard operating procedures, as well as an opportunity for new teams to work together in a simulated deployed environment.
"This sort of training is important for the brigade as a whole and the civil affairs community in general," said Ruth during an impromptu ride-along with one of the CA teams conducting the training.
"We've got brand new teams that are forming and it puts them in real world scenarios. Essentially, they're able to practice things on the ground that they wouldn't have an opportunity to do unless they were in a real world situation," said Ruth.