By Sgt. Kimberly K. Menzies, 4th Brigade Combat TeamOctober 17, 2012
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky- Soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, conducted combat patrol exercises Oct. 2 to Oct. 12, 2012 as part of the brigade's field exercise, Eagle Flight III at Fort Campbell, Ky.
"The combat patrol lane is the nonlethal lane focusing on interactions between host nation security and local villages that companies may encounter," said Maj. Christopher Biel, the operations officer with 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div.
"We had two villages set up with similar personnel in it. We had locals, uniformed police and village leaders. Both the police commander and village leaders are role players speaking Dari to present a life like Afghan flavor to our lane, where a company's task it to conduct village assessments and area recon to help understand and develop the future of the area."
"They are integrating host national security forces so personality and rapport matter," said Maj. Jeremy Gwinn, the brigade operations officer in charge with 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. "They are integrating engagements with locals both in key leader engagements and street level engagements. There, how they do those engagements effects the outcome or the enemy's actions and the populations actions during the lane."
This type of less kinetic training also helps Soldiers familiarize themselves with different types of skills and barriers they might encounter while deployed.
"The big coordination is getting new lieutenants and [noncommissioned officers] used to actually working with an interpreter and working with someone who is not speaking the same language as ours; that can be challenging for some individuals," continued Biel.
"This type of training teaches you to be flexible," said Staff Sgt, Cameron Shaw, a mortar platoon sergeant with Troop B, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment. 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div.
"In a lot of ways deployments can really stress you out because you have so many tasks coming at you. My guys could hang rounds all day or be an assistant gunner but they may not necessarily know how to establish an [entry control point or conduct security for a [forward operating base] or [combat outpost]. If they were out with the platoons they may not know how to maintain security for street level engagements or key leader engagements, this training teaches you that versatility."
Though many of the Soldiers completed the lane utilizing their military occupational specialty skills, they also understood the significance of expanding their knowledge through this type of training.
"I think it is really good for any officer or Soldier because they are validating their skills in an as realistic scenario as possible," said 2nd Lt. Kristen Griest, a military police platoon leader with 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th BCT, 101 Abn. Div. "So they are really going through all the stuff they are going to need to know."
"If you don't have the training on it your are not really going to know what to do, " Spc. Scott Mathewson, a senior medic with Trp. B, 1st Squd., 61st Cav., 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. "So if you have been through a scenario that is similar to what you might encounter, it is a lot easier for you to do what you need to do."