65th Eng. Bn. completes NTC rotation

| May 31, 2013 | 0 Comments
Soldiers of the 34th Sapper Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, employ hand-held detectors while conducting dismounted route clearance under the watch of a Scout Weapons Team at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, Calif. (Photo by Clarence Butler, National Training Center Public Affairs)

Soldiers of the 34th Sapper Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, employ hand-held detectors while conducting dismounted route clearance under the watch of a Scout Weapons Team at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, Calif. (Photo by Clarence Butler, National Training Center Public Affairs)

2nd Lt. William Hinkley
65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — The 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, currently preparing for deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, completed a rotation at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, Calif., April 10 to May 5, 2013.

Culminating in the final “Force on Force” battle against the opposing force, this event proved to be an essential training experience that greatly improved the readiness and effectiveness of the 65th Eng. Bn.

The Soldiers of the 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, carry three casualties to the medical evacuation helicopter through the dust from the rotor wash at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, Calif. (Photo by Clarence Butler, National Training Center Public Affairs)

The Soldiers of the 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, carry three casualties to the medical evacuation helicopter through the dust from the rotor wash at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, Calif. (Photo by Clarence Butler, National Training Center Public Affairs)

The training first began with reception, staging, onward-movement and integration classes. They were specifically tailored to be relevant to the battalion’s mission in the current fight in Afghanistan.

The RSOI classes consisted of everything from route clearance tactics and running an entry control point to employing robotics and flying unmanned aerial systems. These classes proved invaluable as they provided hands-on training with same equipment that the Soldiers will be using in Afghanistan. They also provided training based off the most recent information and equipment from Afghanistan.

Upon completion of RSOI classes, the battalion then deployed for 10 days to “the box,” which is the training area on Fort Irwin where all situations are treated as real-life tactical scenarios.

The training initially started with live-fire exercises and a situational training exercise (STX). Each tactical element of the 65th Eng. Bn. participated. Soldiers gained experience firing live rounds as an individual and within a convoy.

Throughout the STX lanes, each element strengthened its teamwork as it honed skills at route clearance, reacting to contact and recovering vehicles.

Spc. Ryne Miller, attached to the 82nd Engineer Support Company, 65th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, carries his dog, Kelly, while dismounting in search of improvised explosive devices at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. (Photo by Clarence Butler, National Training Center Public Affairs)

Spc. Ryne Miller, attached to the 82nd Engineer Support Company, 65th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, carries his dog, Kelly, while dismounting in search of improvised explosive devices at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. (Photo by Clarence Butler, National Training Center Public Affairs)

Throughout the training in “the box,” the staff exercised multitasking and crises management. While reacting to indirect fire, the staff also had to coordinate all unit movement, fire support and air space while also tracking enemy actions at the same time.

1st Lt. Jason Oliver, who was the battalion’s battle captain throughout the exercise, described the training as “a challenging experience that stressed the staff and the team. That experience served to strengthen our cohesion and effectiveness as staff.”

The battalion then employed all the lessons it learned from the training in the final exercise — the force on force. In this scenario, the unit conducted 24-hour operations for three days, where each action taken by the battalion had consequences and affected future actions by the OPFOR.

The readiness of the battalion was fully demonstrated when Pvt. Cole Snodgrass, medic with the unit, found himself performing CPR on a real-life victim suffering a cardiac arrest while he was training in the hospital at Fort Irwin.

It was this experience when Snodgrass claimed to have gained confidence in his abilities and training. Through his performance of CPR on the civilian victim.

“I was able to experience how I would actually respond under stress and under pressure,” he said.

His actions earned him the “Hero of the Battle” award at NTC.

“It’s through the Soldiers’ and families’ dedication and resiliency, that we made the battalion a huge success and earned it a reputation of excellence that is seldom seen,” said Lt. Col. Darman Place, the battalion commander of the 65th Eng. Bn.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Exercises, News, Safety, Training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *