News: Fox Battery's second platoon trains on urban operations
FOB WARRIOR, Iraq -- Soldiers from the 116th Brigade Combat Team's F Battery, 188th Air Defense Artillery, part of Task Force 1st Battalion, 148th Field Artillery Regiment, used some extra time this summer to hone their skills on operations in urban environments at Forward Operating Base Warrior, Iraq.
The unit, known by most as "Fox" Battery, has the primary mission of training Iraqi Army soldiers and officers on basic combat and soldier skills, but these Soldiers realize the importance of maintaining their own skills as well.
"Second platoon took advantage of recent mission down time to train up on some of the skills they have been teaching for the past six months," said 1st Lt. Roger Pohlman, Fox Battery's second platoon leader. "We utilized several abandoned buildings on the FOB with a goal of conducting training in a realistic setting."
The Soldiers trained on entering and clearing buildings they had never been in, sidestepping debris, reacting to blind corners and window entry. The Soldiers also entered a building that was completely dark, providing an opportunity for both a flashlight entry and night-vision goggle (NVG) training.
"We entered the buildings several times using different combinations of team members in order to achieve familiarity working with each other," said Pohlman. "Morale remained high throughout the training with everyone gathering after each entry to brainstorm ways to improve movement flow, clearing techniques, and safety."
During each after-action review (AAR) assessment, Soldiers were allowed to share successes and identify ways to improve.
"Positive comments included the use of realistic scenarios, complicated buildings which provided a training challenge, improving on the fly, and communication during movement," Pohlman said.
"Soldiers also addressed possible areas needing improvement such as movement on stairwells, utilizing interpreters during training since they accompany us during real-world missions, and difficulties/ safety concerns using the SAW [Squad Automatic Weapon] during room clearing operations."
Pohlman said future training plans include adding weapon down drills, target acquisition, medical emergencies, and detainee processing.
Always being prepared to perform real-world urban operations is part of the 116th Brigade Combat Team's mission while deployed in Kirkuk Province, Iraq. The unit's mission also includes developing and augmenting local Iraqi security forces, assisting Iraq's new government, supporting economic development and facilitating communications.
The 116th BCT is comprised of headquarters and staff sections, two armor battalions, a mechanized infantry battalion, a support battalion, a field artillery battalion, an engineer battalion, and various intelligence, signal, and specialized units. The 116th BCT is one of several Army National Guard units deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III.