The group from F Company, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Regiment, spent time clearing rooms, securing courtyards and moving between buildings at Malone MOUT, a training complex set up to sharpen military operations on urban terrain.
CPT Chris Bowen, the company commander, said the four-day session’s main objective was to familiarize the Soldiers with urban terrain and operations.
“We want to give them an idea of some of the situations they might be faced with in the future,” he said. “This is how they need to be able to move in the streets. It gives them a basic knowledge of what to do as a rifleman in urban operations … so the first time they face it isn’t when they get to a unit, or worst-case scenario, when they get in country. This way, they’ve seen it before.”
Drill sergeants shared their combat experiences as the Soldiers tackled different scenarios and tried to stay warm in temperatures that hovered around freezing each day.
“On a deployment, they would face harsher conditions than this, especially in Afghanistan,” Bowen said.
In all likelihood, he said, many of the new Infantrymen will be assigned to units scheduled for an Afghanistan rotation in the next six months.
The nine buildings at Malone MOUT are arranged to simulate the streets, walls and courtyards of a typical town in Iraq or Afghanistan, said 1SG Daniel Benitez, the company’s first sergeant.
“These are things they will see over there. This makes it much more realistic,” he said.
The company practiced “four-man stacks” and different maneuver techniques that could be employed in Afghan and Iraqi villages. Benitez said roles and responsibilities are identified before any house or room is entered to avoid confusion and keep potential firing lanes clear.
“Friendly fire is one of the bigger risks inside a room because you’re in such a contained environment,” Bowen said.
Benitez said the emphasis on urban and desert warfare training has changed dramatically in the past couple of decades.
“When I went through this, we got one day,” he said. “It shows the increased focus on urban operations these days.”
This week, the Infantry Soldiers tested the new tactics and skills in a field-training exercise. They’re scheduled to graduate Jan. 29 from advanced individual training.