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    Blue vs. Red

    Operation Strike Storm operations

    Photo By Sgt. Aura Conejos | A Soldier with 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team,...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Aura Conejos 

    2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division

    Networking Integration Evaluation 15.2 is an opportunity for Soldiers within 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, to exercise realistic training they could encounter in a deployed environment.

    The friendly forces of 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2/1 ABCT, simulated an attack against Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, role-playing opposing forces, in the mountain of the training village of Waigali on Fort Bliss, Texas, May 4, 2015.

    OPFOR Soldiers provided resistance as 1-6 IN pushed through the village.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Hendrex, 2/1 ABCT, had a bird’s eye view of the attack, from a ledge on the mountain range, noted the training village of Waigali as being one of the best places to conduct company-level operations.

    “The realism of the explosions, simulations and effects of rocket-propelled grenades, smoke and machine guns gives Soldiers tough and realistic training,” said Hendrex.

    A combined arms company, 1-6 IN, had the ability to bring different elements to the fight. They provide dismounted and reconnaissance teams to maneuver through the village and offer intelligence on the enemy. This allowed unit leadership the ability to be flexible and bring in the proper force presence to defeat OPFOR.

    Armored vehicles rolled up the hill emitting smoke which aids their cover and concealment. 1-35 AR Soldiers fled the market into ravines and buildings to execute the element of surprise against friendly forces.

    Incoming Soldiers dismounted the vehicles by teams and methodically maneuvered flanking the main road. Other teams moved through the village strategically, using armored vehicles as cover for their advancement.

    Soldiers executed clearing procedures to weed out enemy forces while taking fire from OPFOR snipers embedded within the mountain range and enemy combatants hiding behind buildings.

    Hendrex highlighted the turning point of the attack.

    “The tide turned when the dismounted force came over the southwest wall and covered the backdoor of the mountain,” said Hendrex, on 1-6 IN Soldiers gaining the high ground during the attack.

    Sgt. Timmothy Wallis, a team leader, Company A, 1-6 IN, was instructed to lead his team in securing a foothold, while assisting the adjacent squad as they pushed through the city.

    Wallis said the battalion achieved success through decisive action and their speed getting to cover.

    Everyone knew their roles. They maintained awareness ensuring they did not fire over friendly heads and had positive identification on engaged targets, Wallis added.

    The attack in Waigali is representative of what can happen in the complex situation of a mission against the enemy in theater. It is not always a rapid battle, as movies depict.

    This training allows Soldiers to witness the different phases of battle, how they synchronize and how everyone has a role in success or defeat of a real mission.

    Soldiers on the side of friendly forces are able to review what they can improve on or sustain from their direct action taken during these operations.

    OPFOR Soldiers have the rare opportunity to see what they would look like if the roles were reversed: patterns and predictability of friendly forces and bad habits that they can learn from and take with them when it’s time to switch back to their traditional roles.

    “You will forever think of your formation differently,” said Hendrex. “You will do better in the future and bring more to the table.”

    Pfc. Brandon Rodriguez, an infantryman attached to 1st squad, 1-35 AR, was one of the last remaining enemy Soldiers.

    Rodriguez said his role was to interfere by firing shots and harass 1-6 IN Soldiers, before pulling back further into the village. From that point, Rodriguez assaulted through the village and flanked troops as they cleared buildings.

    “It felt pretty fun being one of the last guys,” said Rodriguez. “I was able to get to that point by being careful. I went through the ravine, I grabbed one buddy with me to make sure he was ready and we just took off.”

    “We train hard every day and this is where we get to put our skills to the test,” Rodriguez emphasized how NIE missions challenge Soldiers’ tactical expertise.



    Date Taken: 05.10.2015
    Date Posted: 09.16.2015 10:23
    Story ID: 176206
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US

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