By Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Kenneth PawlakMarch 9, 2012
Cobra helicopters fly in to engage targets of opportunity, infantrymen navigate the mountainous terrain to take-out the objective, and tanks roll in to shoot anything in their way.
Sounds like a video game doesn't it?
The helicopters, tanks and Soldiers are all real, and are members of both 1st Brigade Combat Team and the Republic of Korea Army.
The exercise, named Iron Forge, involved virtual, force-on-force and live-fire missions at Camp Casey and Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, last month.
"The purpose of this operation is for 1-BCT to successfully participate in a live virtual operation, and to train and certify combined-arms live-fire exercises at the company level," said Sgt.1st Class Alan Johnson, a Bradley master gunner with 1st BCT.
One of the assets used during Iron Forge was the Closed Combat Tactical Trainer, a simulator that enables Soldiers to get the feel of fighting the enemy in live, virtual scenarios.
"In the simulator, it looks like Soldiers are on real fields and fighting real people," said Johnson.
Members from the 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, and the 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, were involved in the exercise, said Capt. Alpheaus Lamar, 1st BCT training exercise officer.
"Many of the company commanders and Soldiers said this was the first time the units were able to come together, collectively, during the combined arms live-fire exercise," he added.
During the exercise, the infantry advanced on Manchu Hill, utilizing fire and movement, while sustaining minimal casualties.
"This year was more of a combined fight, having the infantry clear Manchu Hill and then the tanks would move in and take-out the enemy," said Capt. Kyle Jerichow, brigade force integration officer, 1st BCT.
Regarding the integration of ROK assets, added Jerichow, it was a first for the Iron Forge exercise, using Cobra helicopter as opposed to the AH-64 Apaches.
"We train as we fight," said Johnson, "and we are always ready to fight tonight!"