Clipped From Tyrone Daily Herald

prezziej Member Photo

Clipped by prezziej

THE DAILY HERALD, Tyrone, Pa.. CALIFORNIA BOUND — An Opposing Force (OPFOR) soldier fires at the enemy during a battle at Fort Irwin, Ca. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Cavozos). California-Bound Reservists By S-Sgt. Dennis McMahon More than 125 157th Separate Infantry Brigade (Mech) soldiers participated in desert warfare training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Ca. from May 2 to 25. The event marks the first time that a Reserve unit has had the opportunity to participate at this highly recognized training center for active-duty units. Sgt. Eric A. Gilliland and Cpl. Paul M. Johnston, both from Warriors Mark, participated in the training event. The soldiers, who come from various companies within the 314th Infantry Battalion headquartered in Lock Haven, along with attachments from the 315th Infantry Battalion from Philadelphia, all formed a composite company with the purpose of supporting the training activities at the center. The company's time in California was to be spent as an attachment to the permanent unit at Fort Irwin, which serves as the Opposing Force (OPFOR) for visiting active Army units. In this case the active units they opposed were the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Co. and the 6th Infantry Division from Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The Composite Company, commanded by Capt. William M. Robbins of Company A, 314th, performed its mission as an opposing force with the use of Soviet weapons and tactics to give the Division the most realistic training experience possible. 'According to Robbins, the reservists first 'Vent through their own Soviet tactical training before turning their skills against the active Army soldiers. In addition to the opportunity for training on Soviet skills, Robbins indicated that this assignment offered the unique chance to train in a completely different climate and terrain. "The arid, sandy desert around Fort Irwin offered an interesting change from the familiar scenes of Forts Pickett, Dix and Indiantown Gap," Robbins said, referring to the nearby posts where soldiers usually train." Attending the NTC is the best training opportunity I have seen since I've been in the Army Reserve. Actually, the assignment could prove to be the best training opportunity that anyone has seen in the Army Reserve since NTC participation has never before been available to a Reserve Unit. While the apcarance of the landscape may be desolate and aesthetically unappealing, the NTC has proven to be a tremendously popular training ground for large-scale desert exercises, restricting attendance to active Army units with higher readiness priorities. But the impression made by the 157th soldiers may open the door for other reservists. "I think the people at Fort Irwin were expecting a bunch of rag-tag weekend warriors with no idea of what to do, but they found out differently when we got there," said Staff Sgt. David K. Brccht, of Company D, 315th Infantry, indicating that in one operation, the composite company annihilated a battalion from the 6th Infantry Division. The opera- lion, coined the Battle of Beacon Pass, was recognized as a textbook-style defensive operation that resulted in 288 casualties from the 6th I.D. In addition to the casualties, another result was the increased respect that the reserve soldiers earned. "I think they realize it isn't because they are bad soldiers that they lost the battle, but rather that reservists can be good soldiers, and most of us are," Brccht added. While the Pennsylvania reservists taught some lessons about the capabilities of reservists, the most significant aspect of their assignment may have been what they learned for themselves. Operating in the open desert with no trees for cover, and using Soviet weapons and tactics all helped to create an entirely unique training experience. "I learned a lot about how the Russians move and hide. I think the anti-tank gunners got the best training, because we had to engage tanks all the lime out there," said Pfc. Daniel McDonald, an anti-lank gunner with Company E, 315th Infantry. "It feels great to go after lanks. You are just high on adrenalin and you go out and get em." Robbins attributes the company's success to the long hard preparation that was done before departure, and the high quality of the soldiers who volunteered for the assignment. "Tactically, this company has come a long way, and may well be the best company on Fort Irwin," Robbins said. "In spite of the fact that we are made up of soldiers from different units, everyone has quickly learned lo work and funciion well logclher. Because of this we were able to demonstrate that the one-force concept is a valid philosophy, and that reserve soldiers are more than capable of operating with active Army units." AC'S Smith Building To Take On New Look Remodeling began earlier this week other campus buildings such as the

Clipped from
  1. Tyrone Daily Herald,
  2. 16 Jun 1990, Sat,
  3. Page 3

prezziej Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in