News: Chief of Staff visits 3rd Brigade Combat Team at NTC
Story by Staff Sgt. Shelia Sledge
FORT IRWIN, Calif. - Training hard and conducting Situational Training Exercises are just a few things soldiers are doing at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., chief of staff, visited 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Broncos) during their strenuous training Saturday here.
As the Bronco soldiers train and prepare for a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, Casey stopped by to see the soldiers train and to talk with Col. Richard Kim, 3rd BCT, 25th Inf. Div., commander of 3rd BCT.
“My main reason for coming out here today was to see how the National Training Center was adapting itself, so when later this year we have units come through to do training other than for Iraq or Afghanistan, we will be prepared to do that,” Casey said. “Because I think everybody knows that the last five years have been exclusively preparing the soldiers for Afghanistan.”
Casey said that Kim talked to him about how pleased he was with the stressful nature of the exercise and how it has made him react to different situations throughout the training.
“My team and I will leave here, one performing as a team and two better prepared for this upcoming mission,” Kim said to the Casey.
During the Broncos training throughout their stay at NTC, most soldiers go through STX that will help prepare them for their deployment.
“We are receiving the exact environmental training while in the ‘box’,” Kim said. “This is very realistic and challenging training that will prepare them better for the environment and terrain that we will face in Afghanistan.”
Even though this training is catered to Afghanistan right now, NTC is looking for way to improve training, so soldiers can be trained on several regions throughout the world.
“I think the biggest changes you will see is the versatility that needs to be here, so we can train units on Iraq and Afghanistan or other specific missions, but at the same time train them for a range of missions,” Casey said.
Casey said that these soldiers have to be versatile enough to train for Afghanistan one day and then the next day for a different rotation, because you never know what will happen next.
Casey also spoke about the changes of manpower throughout the Army. He stated that the Army has enlisted more than 100,000 troops over the last five years with the intent that once the soldiers, like the ones from Bronco team, return home from deployment, they could have two-years stabilization with their families instead of 18 months before deploying again.
With this being Casey’s last trip to NTC, before retiring after severing more than 40 years in the military, he wanted to tell Bronco brigade troops, “train hard, have a good plan and stay focused on your mission.”