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    205th Infantry Brigade

    205th Infantry Brigade

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Russell Klika | U.S. Army Soldiers of the 130th Military Police Company, Tennessee Army National Guard...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Rob Cooper 

    Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

    CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. -- "I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough; trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills."

    This stanza, part of the U.S. Army's Soldier's Creed, isn't just a simple phrase. Wherever an Army Solider goes, so goes with him the mantra of always being prepared for any situation. This train of thought does not simply apply to those deploying to places like Iraq or Afghanistan, however; for the Army Soldier, being trained and proficient is a way of life even on missions of peace.

    The specific variations of training that Soldiers receive depend on where they are going. For members of Kosovo Force 9, a group of more than 1,300 Soldiers from 17 different states that deployed this summer, their training revolved around keeping the peace and making sure that the citizens of Kosovo and Serbia are well protected. That's where the 205th Infantry Brigade, a training support brigade assigned to First Army, comes in.

    Consisting of members of various Army National Guardsmen, Reservists and active duty Soldiers, the 205th is part of the Army's mandatory training for those deploying overseas. In addition to training Army units supporting operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, the 205th is also the only training support brigade that trains units bound for Kosovo, which is provided by more than 900 personnel here.

    Training for Kosovo deployment works in a number of ways, but focused on two main points, said Col. Christopher M. Holden, the 205th commander. First, Holden said Soldiers must maintain a safe and secure environment and second, they must allow the citizens Kosovo to continue "living in the rule of law."

    "Most warriors tell you that firefights are the easiest to train, but peacekeeping is even more difficult," he said.

    Training for peace
    In dealing with the challenges of a mission of peace, the 205th builds upon repetition-oriented training. In addition to accenting basic war fighting fundamentals, marksmanship, physical fitness and counter-improvised explosive device education, the brigade also submerges their trainees into the most realistic environments possible.

    In order to accomplish the look and feel of Kosovo, 205th trainers use visual modifications, such as vehicles, equipment and even training locations that are modified to duplicate cultural nuances. In addition to its "theater immersion methodology," Holden said that his brigade offers language training through the Defense Language Institute, often employing Kosovar nationals and ambassadors to guarantee Soldiers readiness.

    "You don't want the Soldiers to be surprised when they get there," Holden said.

    And that's with good reason, said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony L. Edwards, the senior non-commissioned officer assigned to the training brigade.

    "Anytime you train a Soldier, you're training them for the mindset of battle," he said. "Overseas, you aren't looked at as an individual Soldier, but as an American. We are pretty much ambassadors, and so to say that we will train you only for peacekeeping operations and put you in a mind frame that nothing is going to happen is suicide. We just don't do that at any training center."

    Edwards said the brigade teaches Soldiers the traits of conducting the peacekeeping operations and also knowing that at any time things can change and when things do change, Soldiers cannot overreact.

    "You have to insert just enough force to put things back in a smooth flowing environment," Edwards said.

    Knowledge is power
    The immersion training offered by the 205th could not happen without the help from expert trainers who have the experience to back, Holden said. Answering the call to train are members of First Army's Operation Warrior Trainer, a mission that employs prior deployed Soldiers as educators.
    Currently, the 205th has approximately 262 Soldiers from Operation Warrior Trainer filling the position of Observer/Controller-Trainers at Camp Atterbury.

    "Warrior Trainer is the best thing since slicing a sweet potato pie," Edwards joked. "There is nothing better than when you take an individual that has just returned from deployment and have him mentor and train others that are going to same place he's been."

    Edwards said that not only does that validate the training the Soldiers receive, but it also gives them those one-on-one moments when he can voice his concerns and questions.

    "If a Soldier asks how he can deal with the separation for 12 months, he now has a seasoned warrior that can tell him how to deal with it. It puts a personal and realistic spin on what Soldiers go through in theater," he said. "Without that, all you have is pretty much just training and tasks."

    All O/C-Ts that train under the 205th are selected based on what they did in theater, Edwards said. One important qualification during the selection process is whether or not a Solider has "left the wire" (gone off post on a mission).

    "If he sits at the (base), what's he going to train mobilizing Soldiers on?" Edwards asked. If he hasn't been in a stressful environment, how can he tells others what it is like, he continued. "It ties hand and hand with training, and if you don't have that, then the Soldier misses out on that good training."

    Holden said that he is confident in the successes of the KFOR9 mission and attributes it to the good relationship between the trainers and the trainees.

    "We had established from day one a great leadership atmosphere," he said. "The O-C/Ts and members of KFOR9 has a collegial understanding, which has allowed them to receive some excellent training."

    Edwards echoed the consent. "If you talk to the units, they will tell you that some of those Soldiers have gone on previous KFOR missions," he said. They will also tell you that this is some of the best training they've received thus far. Part of that is because when situations in any theater occur, it's up to date here."

    "If something happens over there today, then tomorrow we will be executing the training here."



    Date Taken: 10.18.2007
    Date Posted: 10.18.2007 10:53
    Story ID: 13091
    Location: CAMP ATTERBURY, IN, US 

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