The Soldiers honed their skills in dismounted techniques, completed squad and platoon maneuvers, and secured an area with the intent of delivering medical supplies.
“The focus of this week’s [annual training] is on infantry skills,” said U.S. Army Capt. Juan Sepulveda, 1053rd Trans. Co. commander. “This is something we don’t do as much as we do convoy and driver training.”
Sepulveda explained many of the Soldiers haven’t focused on infantry training and tactics since basic training. As truck drivers, much of their training centers on driving, convoy maneuvers, and delivering materials and supplies. So, this infantry training takes them out of their comfort zone.
As part of the training, the Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) site, a specially designed area for training in urban warfare, was the destination point for a delivery of medical supplies. Soldiers had to circle around the drop-off point, dismount from their vehicles, scan the area, and setup a secure perimeter. Within moments of leaving the security of their armored vehicles, other Soldiers playing the opposing force began firing blanks and lobbing simulated mortars into the area.
The drivers used cover and concealment, and infantry maneuvering tactics to react to enemy contact. Squad Automatic Weapon gunners laid down suppressive fire, while the remaining Soldiers returned fire with the opposing forces and cleared two of the buildings in the immediate vicinity.
“I think the training went really well, since we don’t so do this very often,” said U.S. Army Spc. Demario Goodson, 1053rd Trans. Co. truck driver. “We are truck drivers, so this was very different for us. Although we ended up with one simulated casualty, we provided medical attention and completed the mission.”
During the training, the transportation company had an outside observer from Task Force Marshall to provide an evaluation of the unit with feedback on what the unit did right, and in what areas they can improve.
“We get tasked with missions like this because we have experience in this type of training as drill sergeants and with training the Navy in infantry techniques,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clint Myers, TF Marshall observer. “They did some things that were great, and some things that you could tell they haven’t done that often. It’s hard for us as Reserve and Guardsmen to get the amount of training active duty does, but that’s why they are here, to learn how to get better.”
After the platoons completed the first round of training at the MOUT site, they received advice and remarks from Myers before moving on to company-level training.
“After talking to the Soldiers, they loved it and want to do more of this. It goes along with our training plan to progress to a higher readiness status. So, we will include more of this into our future training,” said Sepulveda. “Next we will have a tactical piece with gun trucks, pyrotechnics, a night mission, opposing forces and another observer.”
In addition to sharpening Soldier skills, conducting this type of tactical training outside of typical duties can also help with unit cohesion.
“It was a great experience and provided an opportunity to work together as a unit to complete a mission,” added Goodson.