FORT BLISS, Texas - During the rigorous weeks of training in support of the Network Integration Evaluation 13.1, Fort Bliss, soldiers were responsible for assessing modernized equipment that would mature the army’s tactical network and further improve the future of the U.S. Army.
In addition to the duties performed as part of NIE, soldiers from Troop A, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, continued to maintain and improve their skills during close quarters combat training at the Oro Grande Shoot House Training Facility in Fort Bliss, Texas, Nov. 13.
“During NIE we’re not just testing equipment, we’re also utilizing this time to continue training,” said Capt. Brandon Chase, commander of Troop A, 1st Sqdn, 1st Cav. Regt., 2nd BCT, 1st AD.
The “Iron Brigade” soldiers trained on how to proficiently enter and clear the one-story shoot house building.
During the shoot house scenarios, the troopers would stack up alongside the structure and then breach the building’s main doors and subsequently clear all the rooms within the facility of enemy targets. Soldiers remained vigilant upon entering the building; they were prepared to shoot or detain the mannequins posing as hostile targets and save the ones modeled as innocent civilians.
The mannequins used during the shoot house training were equipped with a hardwired electronic targeting system that registered incoming fire from the soldiers. Once the soldiers engaged and hit the mannequin with the simulated rounds, the target would fall, letting the troopers know they successfully hit the target.
According to Chase, most of the worlds’ population resides in urban areas, so the soldiers have to understand how to clear rooms, houses and buildings.
After the soldiers learn the close quarter combat fundamentals, Chase said his Soldiers will implement their newfound skills to practice those same tactics with some of the equipment they have been evaluating during the past four weeks.
“Once we get the fundamentals down we can go into using the Nett Warrior and Rifleman Radio systems to clear bigger houses and buildings,” said Chase, a native of Amarillo, Texas.
Like many of the “Iron Brigade” soldiers, Troop A was responsible for assessing the Nett Warrior and the Joint Tactical Radio System Rifleman Radio systems throughout NIE.
The Nett Warrior system is an integrated dismounted leader situational awareness system that allows leaders to see a Soldiers’ individual location on a map, enabling them to make fast and accurate decisions in a tactical fight; and the Rifleman Radio is a light radio carried by platoon, squad and team-level soldiers that transmits voice and text communications, GPS locations and other data.
“The continuation of training is always going to be our main effort,” said Chase. “But during NIE we’re integrating the equipment we’re given to test and evaluate into our training to help set-up future units, who will have this equipment, up for success.”
Throughout their fifth and final week of NIE 13.1 training, Troop A will have the opportunity to use the systems in other urban operational training areas.
Sgt. Shane Daniels, a cavalry scout and section leader assigned to Troop A, was responsible for teaching his soldiers on how to maneuver through the shoot house to help prepare them for the use of the equipment in bigger facilities later in the week.
“The shoot house is very important, especially to my guys, because our job is to enter and clear buildings in urban environments,” said Daniels, a native of Petersburg, Alaska. “It’s extremely important we get the fundamentals here, because if we get into a situation while deployed, and they have to enter and clear a building, they need to have quick reaction skills and be able to react on instinct.”
Daniels believes the development of this equipment and its integration during NIE is essential to his soldiers and is vital to the future of the Army.
Once the soldiers get the opportunity to assess the equipment during the urban operations exercise, they will begin to develop the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the systems in those scenarios.
Those procedures will be handed-off, along with the assessments of the equipment, so that the systems can be further improved before being distributed to Soldiers for future field use.
“We are developing something that is possibly going to save someone’s life,” said Daniels. “We have to make sure the equipment is right so that when Soldiers receive it in the future they know their equipment is going to operate the way they need it to.”