Soldiers complete urban combat training

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Army News Service, Mar. 13, 2008) — Every year Fort Rucker personnel train and teach thousands of Soldiers to fly, to become officers and aviation-related skills that help the Army execute the Global War on Terrorism.

About 120 permanent-party Soldiers from the 1st Aviation Brigade completed a "round robin" training event here March 1, which included advanced marksmanship training at the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 and convoy and urban operations training at the post's forward operating base, according to 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment Command Sgt. Maj. Melvin Moton.

"This is a good training event," he said. "The permanent-party Soldiers don't get to do this a lot because they're always training (other Soldiers)."

Maj. Ross Nelson, 1st Avn. Bde. operations officer agreed.

"This training is important because even though the brigade performs training like this weekly for students, not all of our cadre get to see it," he said. "Many of the permanent-party instructors' daily duties and responsibilities do not allow them to visit other training sites and see what the rest of the brigade accomplishes. Additionally, these are basic skill sets that all military personnel should train on and refresh regularly."

Brigade battalions were in charge of training at each site - 1st Bn., 13th Avn., Regt., ran the urban operations training, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment provided convoy training and 1st Battalion, 210th Aviation Regiment conducted the EST 2000 training.

When Soldiers arrived at the urban operations site, they received instruction and walked through the fake village before engaging "enemies" during a live-fire event. All participants wore laser-reactive gear to signal when they'd been hit.

The EST 2000 offers state-of-the-art technology and scenarios that train Soldiers about how to operate light and heavy weapons. Convoy training reinforced the Soldiers' knowledge of how to react to enemy fire and mounting and dismounting vehicles.

Heavy construction equipment supervisor Staff Sgt. Thomas Schwenkler, B Company, 46th Engineer Battalion, attached to 1st Bn., 210th Avn. Regt., said he enjoyed the training and that the urban operations portion was his favorite station.

"The (urban operations) is good. We have to shoot, move and communicate. I liked the pyrotechnics and the pop-up (targets)," he said. "This was really good refresher training and will help get us ready to go (on our next deployment this year)."

CW4 James Baker, D Company, 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt. Combat Arms Division intelligence instructor, recently returned from a deployment to the Middle East. He said that during his deployment he and his team occasionally went on raids in Iraq and the urban operations site was set up realistically.

"This is great training. It's not only fun, but it's a good opportunity to refine our skills," he said. "My favorite station was the EST 2000. I liked the different scenarios. It's incredible technology."

Combined training often occurs in deploying units even though the officers and enlisted personnel normally train separately here because of their varying duties, Nelson said.

"Combining officers and enlisted is nothing new. It is a simple fact of the way the Army does business," he said.

Moton agreed and said that it was a good experience for the brigade's officers and noncommissioned officers to perform the training together.

"It reinforces the importance of working together as a team and utilizing the people you have with you to complete the mission," he said. "You can never have enough of this training because you can always improve - you can always do it better."