News: Mock Battles Help Sapper Unit Sharpen Combat Skills
Story by Sgt. Jon Soles
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – A group of Soldiers engaging enemy fighters in a mock village may look like a platoon of infantrymen, but are actually combat engineers training to improve their battle skills.
Soldiers of the 344th Combat Engineer (Sapper) Company, 463rd Engineer Battalion, 926nd Engineer Brigade, received hands-on training in their combat skills with military operations in urban terrain training during Warrior Exercise 86-14-02 (WAREX), April 1. This event is a large scale multi-component collective training exercise designed to prepare Army Reserve and National Guard units for deployment. It includes nearly 5,000 Soldiers from more than 60 units from 30 states and Puerto Rico.
The training began when M113 track personnel carriers entered a mock village for a key leader engagement. The Soldiers expected to meet with a village elder, but instead came under rifle and grenade attack from insurgents portrayed by role players. Soldiers atop the personnel carriers returned fire with automatic weapons, while Soldiers inside the vehicle rushed outside to return fire and take up defensive positions. When the enemy threat was neutralized, observer controller trainers evaluated the engineers’ performance and offered advice and tips about ways they could improve.
“This training allowed us to recognize our deficiencies and the things we need to improve on, like communication,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kelsey Jones, of Jacksonville, Fla., a platoon sergeant assigned to the 344th Combat Engineer Company, 463rd Engineer Battalion, 926nd Engineer Brigade. “We learned that we need to communicate better over the radio about what is happening and situational awareness.”
Combat engineers may be the first Soldiers in an area during a combat deployment, and are expected to be able to defend themselves if attacked. WAREX training is designed to help the engineers stay prepared for any mission.
“This training is good for combat engineers because it provides familiarization with our equipment, dismounted patrols and the way a platoon reacts with each other and how they handle various problems,” said Spc. Taylon Grenhoff, of Ponce De Leon, Fla., a combat engineer assigned to the 344th Combat Engineer Company, 463rd Engineer Battalion, 926nd Engineer Brigade.
The mock battles tested the Soldiers’ ability to make decisions under fire when engaging the enemy in a civilian village. The training provided during WAREX will increase their competence and confidence as Soldiers.
“One of the key parts of the training is making sound decisions and assessing situations under fire,” said Staff Sgt. Tory Henderson of Tallahassee, Fla., a combat engineer assigned to the 344th Combat Engineer Company, 463rd Engineer Battalion, 926nd Engineer Brigade. “This training brought us closer together as a cohesive unit and we will take what we learned here back to our home station.”
Date Posted:04.03.2014 18:01
Location:FORT MCCOY, WI, US
Hometown:CARY, NC, US
Hometown:JACKSONVILLE, FL, US
Hometown:PONCE DE LEON, FL, US
Hometown:TALLAHASSEE, FL, US