News: British engineers ‘cross the pond’ for Golden Coyote
Story by Staff Sgt. David Strayer
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The aura of serenity in the Black Hills of South Dakota broke as the sound of military convoys pressing on with caution, verbal commands being shouted with authority, and the snap-echo report of training rounds and improvised explosive device simulators rang throughout its ranks during a counter-improvised explosive device training lane near Camp Rapid Tuesday June 12.
The counter-improvised explosive device training lane represented one of a myriad of training and real-world scenarios that made up the multi-national, joint-service Golden Coyote training exercise hosted each year by the South Dakota National Guard.
The combat engineers of Great Britain’s 72 Engineer Regiment out of Newcastle, England, were no strangers to training overseas and training with multi-national forces.
“We traveled from Newcastle, England, to embed with the 153rd Engineer Battalion and participate in the Golden Coyote exercise,” said Maj. Dan Hall, commander of the 72 Engineer Battalion. “The exercise has much to offer, and I believe everyone benefits from the ability to trade troop training procedures and tactics.”
The British engineers were one of several nations represented at Golden Coyote, to include Denmark and Kosovo, who were joined by American military counterparts from the Navy, Air Force and units from the Iowa, Pennsylvania and South Dakota Army National Guard, to name a few.
“The mission here at the counter-improvised explosive device lane goes well beyond just improvised explosive devices,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Todd Dressler, officer in charge of the lane and native of Rapid City. “Units that go through this lane will encounter everything from improvised explosive devices, simple and complex ambushes, sniper attacks, and indirect fire attacks, and will have to react quickly and with the necessary communication. They can be out here for as many as four hours training on this one lane.”
They want to see the soldiers react to the scenarios they encounter using doctrine, but also employing and perfecting their own methods and standard operating procedures.
The British combat engineers of the 72 Engineer Battalion had soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and take training and unit readiness seriously.
“We do currently have some of our guys in Afghanistan,” said Hall. “Those of us that are not deployed are working very hard in training and readiness to support the Royal Army’s effort to initiate betterment amongst all the units.”
Hall said that all of the British engineers are looking forward to participating in some of the real-world engineer and humanitarian missions that are part of Golden Coyote, those types of missions cannot be replicated anywhere else as training often can be.
“This overall exercise, especially a lane like this, gives soldiers that may not have combat experience or deployment time an idea of what to expect and how to react should they need to,” said Staff Sgt. Chad Hartley, noncommissioned officer in charge of the counter improvised explosive device training lane and native of Spearfish, S.D. “Golden Coyote offers a great experience for soldiers to come out to the Black Hills and get some of the best training the National Guard has to offer so that whether they are from South Dakota or Denmark they can take that training back to their units and become force multipliers.”