News: 48th IBCT high speed maneuvers
Story by Capt. Michael Thompson
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. — The black, full-size utility vehicle is rapidly spinning in circles, engine grunting and tires chirping as the driver and team inside all seem smiles. After several passes, the driver maneuvers out of the high-speed turn and hits the brakes to match a set of orange cones. The instructor is pleased and begins refining the soldier's handling techniques, all part of a non-tactical vehicle course.
“That is some of the best training I have gotten inside the military,” said Sgt. Thomas Beatty, a security team medic and a Cherokee County patrol deputy. The close group previously traveled to the National Guard Catoosa Training Center and worked with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s office to refine advanced marksmanship skills before mobilization to Camp Shelby with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The advance training paid dividends upon arrival as the team quickly absorbed the training and needed adjustments to provide additional challenges.
“First Army has tailored their training to meet our needs at a more advanced level than the traditional soldier coming straight to Camp Shelby,” explained Master Sgt. George McVay, a security force team leader.
The "Macon Volunteers" started the training event with a driver’s course, working cones forwards and backwards in utility vehicles and escalated to how to safely maneuver armored sport utility vehicles in combat and advanced tactical situations. Once complete with the course, each soldier will be capable of safely maneuvering an armored vehicle in a stressful tactical situation and escort select personnel, in order to prepare for a follow on security force mission in Afghanistan.
“The training has been at a level well above what we usually have resourced,” said McVay. “We have our own internal assets, our [officer in charge] OIC is very tactically proficient because of his civilian job involves these kinds of issues. So we have done a lot of cross training.”
In the simulated village, First Army soldiers play as civilians and oppositional force, mingling around doorways and providing foot traffic common to any area of Afghanistan. Foreign language speakers provide the communication barrier soldiers may have and interpreters are called over to help the key leaders discuss the needs at hand. All these resources make the city come to life and add the realism needed for the different elements of the team to work in unison.
“They are all working together kind of in the same area, showing up at different times so they have to be aware of each other, and also collateral damage,” said Capt. Camille Acred, a 3rd-348th Infantry Regiment observer-coach/trainer.
A variety of pyro and smoke effects turn the security teams into quick reaction mode, protecting the key leaders while dodging simunition rounds from select threats inside the village. The scenario works all battle drills to include medical and casualty evacuation.
“The training is preparing the teams to run high-threat protection overseas, it is going to give them as realistic training scenarios as we can create them here,” said Edwin Lard, executive director of Diplomatic Protection Training Institute, an Ohio-based, veteran-owned small business, providing reality based training and consulting that blends protection principles and high threat protection doctrine. “So the more we can train them here and prepare them, the better equipped and prepared they will be to conduct their protective mission.”
First Army Division East subordinate units, the 177th Armored Brigade and the 158th Infantry Brigade, advise, assists and trains reserve component units in accordance with Department of the Army and U.S. Army Forces Command directives in order to prepare units to achieve Army Force Generation-directed readiness requirements. These units provide valuable training assistance to enhance the 48th IBCT’s readiness for their assigned deployment missions overseas.
The Georgia National Guard continues to provide interoperability to global operations through continued combat rotations to Afghanistan in support of ongoing contingencies, stability operations and Defense Support of Civil Authorities at home. The 48th IBCT spent most of 2013 preparing for their future overseas deployments to Afghanistan and was recognized for their exceptional work at the eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise in Fort Stewart, Ga. Additionally, the 48th IBCT was the first Army National Guard unit selected to support the Department of Defense’s Regionally Aligned Forces mission and will deploy select units to Central America to advise and train military forces of partner nations in 2014.