Soldiers busted down doors, cleared rooms and took down the "enemies" they encountered in an abandoned house. Across the dusty, deserted road, another team of Soldiers were doing the same thing inside another house.
In the house next to them, yet another team was stacked just outside the front door, ready for action. In fact, every building on the street was either filled, or about to be filled with "First Team" Soldiers ready to fight.
This was not an actual raid, but a training exercise conducted by 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Soldiers at a mobile military operations in urban terrain training area on Camp Buehring, Kuwait Oct. 13.
"The training is pretty realistic," said Staff Sgt. Alex Martinez, Headquarters Company, a native of Fairfield, Calif. "It gives you an idea of what to expect if you encounter this type of situation." Martinez, who has experience in urban terrain missions, said the buildings the Soldiers enter to clear have realistic sounds such as gunfire and women screaming.
Spc. Andrew Woodruff, native to Stockton, Calif., said the training was more realistic than training he participated in in the past because these rooms were filled with obstacles and mannequins, whereas in the past the rooms were empty.
"Each of the houses is set up differently with enemy and civilian targets inside," said Spc. Noah Evans, native to Nashville, Tenn. The Soldiers used specialized paint rounds in their weapons, which helped them to practice as if they had live rounds, he said. The paint rounds helped Evans and his team learn the importance of situational awareness, he said.
"You have to be constantly aware of where you're guys are, where you are and where your muzzle is at," Evans said. Evans said with his training, he is confident in his skills to complete similar missions in Iraq, if he ever needs to.
Even for Soldiers who don't do raids on a regular basis, the training could still be useful to them, said Martinez, using an example of an imaginary unit taking sniper fire. In order to eliminate the threat, a team may need to be sent to clear the building the sniper is hiding in.
While the training won't prepare the Soldiers for every situation they may encounter on similar missions, it "teaches them the basics, how to react and makes them use their brains on the ground when they have to encounter similar situations," said Martinez.
Martinez said the training is a refresher for him, but is even more valuable to those Soldiers who haven't been through it before. "This definitely gives me more confidence in my team," said Evans. "We can see what works and what doesn't work."
Martinez said he and other experienced non commissioned officers train younger inexperienced NCOs to train inexperienced Soldiers, or "train the trainers." He also gets to add onto the fundamental training by using his own experiences, he said.