News: Raider Brigade trains for Afghanistan deployment
Story by Sgt. Kimberly Hackbarth
NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER, Calif. – What is the role of a brigade combat team when its focus is not combat?
Soldiers of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division “Raiders” are about to find out as their training shifts from combat to an advise-and-assist role during their rotation at the National Training Center, here, during the month of June.
This rotation is the unit’s final field exercise and certification before its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan later this fall.
“Our deployed mission is Security Force Assistance,” said Col. Michael Getchell, brigade commander, in an open letter to Soldiers and their families. “With this mission we will enable the Afghan National Army and Police to lead in security operations and to connect the citizens of Afghanistan to their government.”
The mission is not entirely new to the brigade. Soldiers worked hand in hand with the Iraqi Security Forces during their deployment to Iraq in 2009-2010.
From teaching the Iraqi Police battlefield forensics, to setting up field kitchens with their Iraqi counterparts, the unit was very hands-on with the ISF and the local Iraqi community.
During the unit’s first week in the desert of Fort Irwin, Soldiers went through Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration where they rotated through various training classes.
Some of the classes were 40-hour courses, such as the Tactical Site Exploitation Search course that taught Soldiers how to handle evidence, search vehicles, personnel and buildings, and other mission critical tasks.
Soldiers also received daylong classes on robotics used to find improvised explosive devices and the Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, used to help identify criminals by capturing photos of the suspect’s irises, faces and fingerprints.
The instructors taught the classes so soldiers could take what they learned, along with training aids provided, and can teach others in their unit. Soldiers will then be able to teach their Afghan partners, as well.
Also during RSOI, soldiers received vehicles and equipment to be used during the exercise. They also affixed Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System gear to their weapons, vehicles, and uniforms. MILES gear allows soldiers to train in a simulated force-on-force environment by alerting them when they or their vehicle has been “hit” by the enemy.
At the end of the weeklong training cycle, the brigade will move into “the box,” the vast training area where they will apply the skills they have learned over the past year and a half and demonstrate they are ready to deploy and accomplish their upcoming mission in Afghanistan.