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1st BCT at NTC, preparing for Iraq
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Editor’s note: Staff writer Denise Etheridge is embedded with the 1st Brigade today through Friday at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
The 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart is training at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in the California desert.
Troops will be trained for their advise and assist mission as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They deploy to the Middle East later this year, on the heels of other units heading to Iraq. Headquarters left last weekend.
“NTC is a place that’s supposed to be harder than combat,” Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo said Friday, before he left for Iraq. “You will see a lot of challenges thrown at these soldiers at NTC.”
Cucolo said the violence in Iraq, which has diminished, is now directed more at Iraqi security forces than at the American military.
“There’s more violence in Afghanistan directed at our forces,” he said.
Maj. Vince Porter of the 1st Brigade Public Affairs Office said soldiers will begin their training at NTC with RSOMI — reception, staging, onward movement and integration.
In laymen’s terms, the army’s
administrative arm will help get troops aligned and directed to where they need to go once they arrive in Iraq.
Porter said training at NTC includes learning to operate such equipment as the Blue Force Tracker, GPS, computer technology which commanders can use to monitor their units on the battlefield. In addition, troops will under-go counter explosives training. Unit leaders also will receive negotiation training, he said.
“Our mission calls for us to interact with Iraqi leaders, mayors and provincial governors,” Porter said. “We’re there in a support role.”
He added soldiers will assist the Iraqis in how best to respond to and handle insurgent attacks and other incidents that affect the security of their country.
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