FORT IRWIN, Calif. - Flights packed full of men and women in uniform landed all through the day and the night. Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of vehicles hit the ground running as 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division arrived at the National Training Center for a collective training exercise. Leaders of the brigade immediately began organizing all the needs, materials and events that will be involved to make the mission a success.
Leaders of the “Lancer” brigade have spent time at Fort Lewis and other areas training their soldiers and leaders for the NTC in an effort to prepare them for a future deployment to Afghanistan.
“We have been to Yakima Training Center for five rotations,” said 1st. Lt. David Schlaseman, A Company, 1-17 Inf., 2nd SBCT, 2nd ID, executive officer, “We have done team, squad, platoon and company live fires; we are past the individual training and basic battle drills.”
“Our preparation for the mission rehearsal exercise has been focused on gaining the maximum utility out of this training opportunity,” said Col. Barry Huggins 2nd SBCT, 2nd ID, commander, “We want to come in at the highest level we can achieve with the resources available to us at the home station. We can take it truly to the next level here at the NTC where we have the entire resources of the nation at our disposal.”
The NTC offers a unique opportunity for world-class training by providing tough, realistic and the most demanding near combat experience short of war.
“There is no better training opportunity that the nation can provide: the terrain, the resources, the people that support the exercise, the careful thought that goes into the scenarios,” said Huggins, “This training will put us under stress that can’t be replicated anywhere else.”
“Training at the NTC gives an outsiders opinion of where we are at and what we need to work on,” said Schlaseman, “With the resources here [NTC] this is as close as we are going to get to actually deploying.”
“That’s what the NTC is, it takes a year long deployment and compresses it into weeks of training,” he said, “The lessons learned here are critical and will pay big dividends.”
There are many goals that 2nd SBCT 2nd ID leaders hope to achieve during their rotation to the NTC but there are a couple reoccurring themes.
“I want our soldiers to understand they are men of honor,” said Huggins, “I want them to stay true to their values. I want them to have faith and confidence in themselves, their equipment and their leaders.”
“We have a lot of new soldiers and leaders in new positions. I want them to have confidence in their leadership,” said Schlaseman, “I want them to know that their leaders are capable and they are.”
“Soldiers come away from the NTC with confidence,” said Schlaseman, “They know what will happen when it’s not MILES [military integrated laser engagement system] but real rounds. That’s what will come out of this training, confidence in themselves and confidence in their organization.”
During this trip to the NTC soldiers missed their families over the Halloween weekend and will be gone through the month ahead. The training they receive here will prepare them for their upcoming possible deployment and help to bring them home safe.
“The time that the soldiers are spending away from their families now is going to ensure that more of them are going to come home to their families, should the call come to go to combat,” said Huggins, “This will be time well spent.”
“This should bolster the families confidence that these are the best trained soldiers that the world has ever seen,” said Huggins, “The separation is a hardship but far, far worse would be not giving everything we have to train soldiers appropriately and exposing them to more risk in the event the nation calls them to serve in a hostile theatre.”
The training that soldiers of the “Lancer” brigade will receive at NTC is the best in the world according to the NTC. Leaders of the brigade expect their soldiers to leave this training with confidence, fully trained and prepared to answer the call of duty.