Monday, November 10, 2008
Weeks 5 & 6 - Equipment and Weapons Training
The training fire hose continues. We moved past the cultural and team indoctrination phase and transitioned into the field phase. The training consisting of communications, combat lifesaver, driver's training, and weapons. Communications entailed the latest on all the possible systems that will be available to the teams in theater. New to me was the capability of the handheld Harris and EMBITTER radios. My only previous experience with handhelds had been unsecured ICON and Motorolas. These represent an impressive jump in capability and will serve the team well.
Combat lifesaver has been upgraded since my last time through. Along with the new first aid kits came extensive tourniquet and tension pneumothorax training. Of course, the rite of passage in all CLS training events is sticking your buddy with an IV, and him sticking you. My partner and I did quite well, both hitting gold on the first stick. Others did not go so well. A few missed sticks is funny. Watching a poor soul get multiple perforations in both arms becomes quite sad.
Last week was a condensed version of range week. In order to get the team ready for NTC, we pushed through M9, M4, M203, M240B, and M2 and all the associated Pre Marksmanship Instruction (PMI) in a week. Most teams spread the training over a couple of weeks, but since we needed to get the training done, we compressed it and got it done in time to line haul our vehicles and equipment for a 10 day trip out to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
You heard that right. We are deviating from the normal training plan in order to participate in an NTC rotation with a Brigade Combat Team from the 25th Infantry Division. The purpose is twofold. First, expose the BCT to a Military Transition Team and the security and support requirements associated with them. Second, and most important, this give our team the opportunity to roll in the desert under more realistic conditions than Fort Riley and work on out teams Battle Drills and Tactical Standard Operating Procedures. I anticipate the rotation will benefit everyone. I almost feel like I'm going home as I spent 5 rotations at the NTC in the first half of my career.