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    Troops learn to think like enemy

    Troops Learn to Think Like Enemy

    Courtesy Photo | An opposition force soldier with the 5th Royal Australian Regiment fires the F89...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Cristina Porras 

    U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

    SHOALWATER BAY TRAINING AREA, Queensland, Australia — During Exercise Talisman Saber 2009, Australian and U.S. forces have been training together to enhance their interoperability and war fighting skills.

    An opposing force was activated to act as simulated insurgents and enemy combatants for the Australian Army's 3 Royal Australian Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Force. Part of part of the opposing forces role was to adopt an unconventional combat mentality to closely match the theaters in which both friendly forces are currently operating.

    Simulated enemy troops, consisting of soldiers from the 5th Royal Australian Regiment and the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, spent their days and nights creating defenses and setting obstacles for the friendly forces. The opposing forces also created simulated improvised explosive devices and mine fields.

    "Our mission is to use all means available to create obstacles for the blue forces to try and stall their advances. We try to make it as realistic as possible so we can all get the most out of this training," said Purvis, from Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

    The role involves a lot of creativity and improvisation. With little to work with, the opposing forces managed to create distractions and stall invasions.

    Using wire, soda cans and other objects lying around, simulated enemy troops rigged hidden bombs. Opposing forces set up bunkers under layers of rocks and bricks. They then discussed ways to further hinder the enemy advance.

    "The reality is we don't always have everything at hand to create an obstacle. So we came up with a basic design of what we want and get creative to get that result or something similar," said Australian Army Cpl. Ash Westerhoff, a combat engineer with 3rd Troop, 9th Field Squadron, 1st Combat Engineer Regiment.

    One of the culminating events throughout the simulated war was at the Urban Operations Training Facility here, a mock town intended to train troops for current operations. Under the supervision of small team leaders, in less than three hours the opposing force's defense was set in place.

    "The true value in this training comes from getting to think like an insurgent. If they should find themselves overseas soon and given an urban situation, they can think back to this exercise when they had to use unconventional tactics," said Australian Army Maj. Stewart Purvis, officer-in-charge of the 5 Royal Australian Regiment mechanized infantry company. "We've had to employ many unconventional military tactics that defy the doctrine we use. While blue force is practicing conventional war fighting techniques, we're gaining a different kind of knowledge out here."

    The training has given junior leaders in the unit a chance to prove that they can take charge. They have been entrusted with deciding their best defense and offense and ensuring their commander's plans are carried out.

    "Most importantly, our guys are gaining leadership experience. We tell them what our mission is, give them the details and they make a plan and delegate to make it happen," said Sgt. Craig Nott, troop sergeant, 3rd Troop, 9th Field Squadron, 1st Combat Engineer Regiment. "That's something these guys have been great with. That's how we create great leaders."

    Marines and soldiers received valuable training that could save their lives in a real combat situation because of the initiative and resourcefulness of the opposing forces, according to Nott.

    "A lot of the obstacles we set up proved to be quite a challenge. [Friendly forces] were able to work together to overcome them and keep pushing on," said Purvis. "So far our guys have done a great job in challenging the opponent and making them work hard."

    TS09 is a biennial combined training activity, designed to train Australian and U.S. forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations, which will help improve Australian Defence Force/ U.S. combat readiness. This exercise is a major undertaking which reflects the longstanding relationship between Australian and the U.S. and closeness of the military-military relationship.



    Date Taken: 07.23.2009
    Date Posted: 07.23.2009 20:35
    Story ID: 36734

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