By Sgt. Brian Tierce
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
KUWAIT - One of the most difficult scenarios Soldiers face on today's battle fields is conducting combat operations in urban environments. The enemy works to blend in with the local populace and Soldiers are left trying to decide who the enemy really is. For this reason, Soldiers from Company A, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment honed their skills by conducting Mobile Operations in Urban Terrain training.
"Basically what is going on is we're sending our platoons through an urban environment," said Capt. Nathan Williams, commander, Co. A. 1-18th CAB of Durham, North Carolina, "The Soldiers are facing real opposing forces, not just targets and they are tightening up on training that has previously been done." The mission begins with a situational report, which is briefed to the leaders of each platoon.
Following the briefing the leaders then plan the mission and move to the MOUT site to begin rehearsals for the upcoming assault. "Given a situation that has been briefed to them, the Soldiers plan their maneuver into the urban complex and must then detain or kill a high value target," said Williams.
Another aspect of the training at Camp Buehring that adds to the realism of the training was simulation rounds called UMT rounds which are fired from the Soldiers and opposing forces weapons which make the training close to the real thing.
"The UMT rounds are little silver rounds that actually require a special bolt in your weapon," said Staff Sgt. Allen Cottone, squad leader, Co. A. 1-18th CAB of Virginia Beach, Virginia, "the closer you are to the person firing a UMT round at you them more it stings" added Cottone. To add to the complexity of the mission and better prepare each and every Soldier in the company for future missions, not just infantry Soldiers conducted the training but also the company's medics, fire support Soldier and even a few mechanics participated in the training.
"Today we incorporated a variety of Soldiers into an infantry environment, so it was a little tougher but they got good training out of it," added Cottone. Throughout the day Soldiers rotated into the village running through a number of different scenarios so that the leaders of the company were confident that the Soldiers were ready to face the real thing in a few short weeks. "I think the Soldiers are doing outstanding, overall the company down to the last man is ready for movement north," said Williams.