Battalion secures village during NIE: 1st Bn., 35th Armor Regt., trains to neutralize enemies in urban setting
Sgt. Edward A. Garibay,
16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment:
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. – Members of 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, surrounded their objective, a makeshift village filled with role-play enemies, and prepared to close in.
“Most of these Soldiers have never seen anything like this before,” said Capt. Josh Horner, a company commander with the battalion. “I think that’s the biggest benefit out of all of this – now they understand what it takes.”
Horner led his company during a simulated mission May 12 that some Soldiers only get to see a few times in their careers – a battalion-sized strike on a village of hostile enemies.
One by one, each company moved in and secured a piece of the village at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., allowing for their comrades to pass through safely.
“All your adrenalin is pumping,” said Spc. Julio Espinoza, describing the initial push into the village. “It’s really the best part.”
The radio transmitter operator from 2nd Platoon, A Company, 1st Bn., 35th Armor Regt., said training like this prepares him for what to expect when he deploys for the first time.
“This [training] is extremely valuable, because you can make those catastrophic mistakes, and you don’t actually take any real-world casualties,” said 1st Lt. Travis P. Kyle, infantry platoon leader for Espinoza’s platoon. “Soldiers can learn from their mistakes. That’s probably the most important thing.”
During the mission, Soldiers of 1st Bn. were able to use a number of new equipment under consideration by the Army, including improved radio sets and combat smartphones with GPS software.
“I think it’s pretty nice to be able to test out something that someone else hasn’t tested out before,” said Espinoza. “I get to give my input and see what worked and what doesn’t work.”
Although the mission was a good experience, it was actually part of a much larger operation conducted by 2nd HBCT called Network Integration Evaluation 12.2, a semi-annual assessment of equipment being looked at by the Army for possible future use.
Kyle said overall the mission provided benefits to all parties involved, from the Army as a whole right down to the individual Soldier on the ground. Soldiers on the ground received good tactical training, and the Army receives a capability assessment on equipment.
“As an infantry unit, any kind of training you can get that mimics what you see in Afghanistan and Iraq is going to be helpful,” said Kyle. “Plus, it saves the Army money.”
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