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Phantom Trackers take down enemy combatants during JRTC training rotation

Email   Print   Share By Staff Sgt. Jonathan Concepcion, 7th MPAD
March 10, 2011 | News
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Soldiers from Trp. B, 2-38 Cav. Regt., conduct a medical evacuation of a simulated casualty during a training exercise while at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La. Staff Sgt. Jonathan Concepcion, 7th MPAD
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Soldiers from 2-38 Cav. Regt., conduct an after-action review with Joint Readiness Training Center trainers and mentors during their training exercise at Fort Polk, La. Staff Sgt. Jonathan Concepcion, 7th MPAD
FORT POLK, La. – Under the blanket of darkness, U.S. forces stormed the Taliban controlled town of Marwandi. For more than five hours they battled the insurgents who had terrorized the small town.

At dawn, 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment Commander, Lt. Col. David E.M. Jones, strode into the town, where victory looked like death. Bodies of dead Taliban and Soldiers littered the dusty streets.

In the midst of the carnage, his men strewn around him, Jones turned to the Afghan police chief beside him and with a swagger and smile said, “Did you ever think you’d be standing in a free Marwandi?”

Jones isn’t callous. He can afford to smile because this isn’t Marwandi, Afghanistan. This is Marwandi, Louisiana.

Jones’ men aren’t really dead; they are part of an elaborate exercise, called force-on-force. The exercise culminated three weeks of intense training his squadron undertook at the Joint Readiness Training Center.

JRTC is one of the three Combat Training Centers resourced to train infantry brigades, task forces and their subordinate elements in the Joint Contemporary Operational Environment.

While in JRTC, Soldiers had the opportunity to conduct joint operations which emphasize contingency force missions.

“It’s a phenomenal training,” Jones said. “We did pre-rotational training, where about one hundred troops were out every day training on a variety of disciplines and on their military occupational specialty.”

The Soldiers also had the opportunity to do situational training exercises such as live fire exercise, he added.

During this training, the unit utilized new concepts such as the Female Engagement Team, and the Security, Population, Intelligence, Development, Economy, and Reconnaissance team led by Canadian Army Maj. Eghtedar Manouchehri.

The squadron also received a visit from Gen. James D. Thurman, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, and a visit from Canadian Brig. Gen. Peter Atkinson, III Corps deputy commanding general.

“There’s been lots of learning that has happened during the past weeks,” Atkinson said.

He also said that the whole idea is making some complex and difficult training so that the Soldiers can get better, confident and competent in what they do.

“This training will be the key of their success,” he added.

Sergeant Juan Trujillo, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, said he learned a lot of leadership skills and how to perform them properly.

“As a leader, he said, “it schooled me in the sense of being more confident in what I do.”

The Soldiers found the training very realistic.

“It gave us a broad idea of what a deployment is going to be like,” Pfc. Charles Dent, an infantryman from Troop C, said

JRTC is focused on improving unit readiness by providing realistic, stressful, joint and combined arms training across the full spectrum of conflict.

“It’s hard just to learn one thing at JRTC,” Jones said, “you come away with a laundry list of lessons learned.”

Jones said the key lesson he took away from JRTC is making sure his Soldiers are positioned for success.

“It’s my job to put Soldiers in the right place,” he said, “so they, without question, have the ability to succeed in their mission.”
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