Story and Photos by
Sgt. Robert England
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers of Company B, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, “Wolfhounds,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, trained at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, June 24-27, marking the battalion’s first platoon-level situational training exercise, or STX.
The STX tested the platoon’s ability to assault a series of objectives in an urban environment in search of a high-value target based on simulated intelligence disseminated during the mission briefing.
“We’re transitioning to full-spectrum operations, so it’s nice that we’re able to work in an urban environment, which is a lot of what we’re currently seeing,” said 1st Lt. Joseph Orton, platoon leader, Co. B, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT.
The Military Operations on Urban Terrain, or MOUT site at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, is an advanced training resource that the brigade can use for urban environment training. The facility boasts multiple cameras atop and inside every building to capture the action from every angle.
Audio speakers throughout the MOUT site play sounds to simulate barking dogs and children at play. Even smell simulation machines emit odors to complete the atmosphere.
Urban environment training is a priority, as the skills required remain pertinent to current conflicts.
“Anywhere we deploy to, there is going to be an element of urban warfare,” said Sgt. Ryan Bradley, squad leader, Co. B, 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT . “Coming down here to Bellows, using the town that they built, gets guys used to urban maneuver and what they can expect to see in marketplaces. To have this resource, we can get prepared and be effective destroying the enemy wherever we go.
“I deployed to Tikrit, Iraq, during the last deployment, and from the building structures outside to the floor plans inside, (the MOUT site) is very accurate,” Bradley added. “It’s all the little things that you don’t really think about that get you into it. It brings back some of the things I encountered when I deployed.”
The Wolfhounds began with team- and squad-level training at Schofield Barracks and Pohakuloa on the island of Hawaii earlier this year, and have moved into tactical maneuver with platoon-sized elements across STXs.
“This is the first opportunity that we’ve had to train as a platoon and show that all the operating procedures we established at the team and squad levels are now working together at the platoon level,” Orton said.
The training also helped integrate new Soldiers in the unit and mutually acquaint the Soldiers and their leadership.
“It builds cohesion and allows leaders to get to know their Soldiers a little better and allows the Soldiers to build trust in their leaders,” Bradley said.
“Working in garrison, there’s a lot of paperwork involved in what I do,” Orton added. “Coming out here, and making sure I’m just as tactically proficient with the feedback I receive from the role players and my squad, there’s nothing like it.”
Platoons across all companies in 1st Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., will continue to train at the Bellows MOUT site into the first week of July, further preparing the battalion’s Soldiers and leaders for contingencies anywhere in the world with realistic urban training.