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First week of training is wet and soggy

By Staff | Jul 3, 2010

Soldiers from the local National Guard unit faced several scenarios that could be experienced when they deploy to Afghanistan later this year.

The Bull on the Mountain Line

(The 1-194 FA in Afghanistan)

Pre-deployment Annual Training: Minnesota, 2010 Week 1

CAMP?RIPLEY, Minn. – For the next part of its training in preparation for deployment, Alpha Battery moved up to Camp Ripley, Minn., to continue its month-long annual training.

This stage tests the soldiers on their skills that they have been practicing and perfecting over the past year. The training here is meant to be a step up in intensity and realism to provide the troops a tougher but more realistic training atmosphere in order to better acclimate them to the combat environment they will be entering.

Staff Sergeant David Jones, right, is one of several Guard members from Estherville

After A Battery made the 7-hour drive up to Camp Ripley, the men were in-processed and the next day, moved out to the Forward Operation Base, Y2W. All operations for Alpha are conducted out of this FOB and it is where the men eat, sleep and prepare for the missions they must conduct each day. It is set up to simulate the type of environment most men will be living in once they arrive in Afghanistan.

On day four, the soldiers went out to the M4 qualification range to qualify with their personal weapons. It was a very wet day and they sun didn’t come out until well into the afternoon but the men did well and everyone from Alpha qualified. They had to qualify on their basic M4 sights (iron sights), their Close Combat Optical sight, with their Pro Mask/Gas Mask, and iron sights at night. The men were tired after a long day on the range and being soaking wet all day but accomplished their mission and were on to Lane Training the next four days.

The soldiers began Lane Training on day 5 which covered Urban Operations, IED Defeat, Traffic Control Point Operations and Reconnaissance. The observer controllers who operated the lanes and gave the units their mission’s utilized pyrotechnics, make-up artists, simulators, and Afghan native role-players to make the scenarios realistic and challenging for the soldiers. The men worked their way through the different lanes a number of times throughout the day with the difficulty increasing each time until the OC’s determined that they had met all of the requirements to be given a GO.

1st Platoon, A Battery preformed exceedingly well on all of the lanes and has really started to mesh well as a unit. With very experienced section/squad leaders and soldiers at all levels working hard to get themselves prepared for the upcoming tour, their hard work and dedication to be the best has been noticed by higher command. Their job now for the men of 1st Platoon A Battery is to keep improving and maintain their drive to train hard and be well prepared because tougher events like squad live fire, convoy live fire and the much anticipated artillery live fire are coming up for their last nine days at Camp Ripley.