With months of preparation and training under their belts, Soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, began a two-week training gauntlet at the National Training Center, Oct. 26.
During the first day of the exercise, the ‘Raiders’ convoyed to the brigade’s operating environment in the Mojave Desert where Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Company began building the Brigade’s tactical operations center.
Master Sgt. Ron Montano, the brigade’s senior operations noncommissioned officer, oversaw the project, directing Soldiers to hoist the massive tents into place and providing support himself wherever needed.
“I’m very pleased,” Montano said. “The Soldiers seem pretty motivated, the NCOs are taking the lead and teaching their Soldiers the right way to do things, and all of the staff sections are pitching in and making this mission happen as quickly as possible.”
The brigade TOC, made up of multiple, interlocking tents provides an area out of the elements for brigade staff to conduct the mission of monitoring and directing units on the battlefield.
“We went through multiple field exercises with the equipment and tried multiple configurations during that training before we settled on this one,” Montano said, while continuing to monitor the Soldiers as they erected the TOC’s entry control point. “We finalized it during brigade maneuver week and I’m pretty happy with the result. From a TOC like this, we will be able to effectively [give] units on the ground the direction and information they need to succeed in combat.”
While most HHC Soldiers worked to turn the sheets of canvas and tent-poles into the central nervous system of the Raider Brigade’s sprawling body, some formed a perimeter around their comrades, keeping an eye out from their Humvee’s gun turrets for possible threats.
Specialist Kyle Zacharias, aviation operations specialist, HHC, said he looks forward to spending the next two weeks learning how a unit operates during a combat deployment.
“It’s probably going to be pretty tough out here, but it’s an opportunity for us to learn a lot,” Zacharias said. “We are off to a good start, everybody is doing their part, and I think this experience will bring us closer together and make us stronger as a unit.”
The HHC workforce continued their labors into the night, setting up computers, running cables and creating an electronic backbone to keep the brigade leadership connected to the units on the frontlines of the training exercise as Raider Soldiers pit their tactical skills against an enemy from the fictitious country of Donovia, while partnering with allies from Atropia.
The training regimen at NTC will insure the brigade can operate with a high level of competence during a combat deployment, said Maj. Robert Walker, the brigade’s senior fires support officer.
“We are ready for this challenge,” Walker said. “The Raider Brigade will leave here as a cohesive, trained unit prepared for whatever mission the Army calls us to do.”