Friday, January 23, 2009

Urban Combat at Fort Dix

Sgt. William Zoeller
211th MPAD
January 23, 2009

Fort Dix, N.J. -- The enemy throws smoke grenades at Soldiers in a mounted patrol in a heavily crowded village. Confusion and chaos incur, orders are barked and messages on the radios become inaudible. This is training for urban combat for Soldiers preparing for war during pre-mobilization here.

Operations in urban environments have become common place in locations like Iraq and Afghanistan for the 21st century. The United States Armed Forces continue to learn new tactics and strategies to combat the growing number of urban conflicts in these regions through lessons learned and after action reports from theater.

Military Operations on Urban Terrain is any military action planned and executed in regions with man-made structures that affect tactical options available to commanders.

Regional Readiness Centers and mobilization sites around the United States continue to train Soldiers for deployment and continuously adapt the training in order to combat new strategies utilized by insurgents. Fort Dix is one of many sites where this training is being conducted.

Capt. Stephen Messenger, First Army, Fort Dix MOUT officer in charge said First Army trains more than 5,000 troops from all branches of service here every year.

Depending on where you go, the urban combat training site along with the counter improvised explosive devices are probably the two key ranges on Fort Dix, Messenger said. He explains that because all the troops going through here are going to some kind of urban environment in Iraq or Afghanistan; they will probably see some form of urban combat.

The MOUT training team stays current and up-to-date with the latest training and tactical scenarios by continuing to keep in contact with the very units in theater that went through the training during the pre-deployment phase. The team also receives feedback as well as receiving additional intelligence by various means of communication.

“Fort Dix has the largest MOUT training facility, and the most extensive,” Messenger said. “In terms of the one I saw at Camp Shelby, [Fort Dix] definitely exceeds the standard in terms of how we train people,” he added.

“We receive a lot of accolades from generals when they come down to see the training.” Messenger said. He continued by saying that the real work horses here are the 15 trainers that came from theater and sacrificed an additional year or two of their life. Messenger mentions that his instructors' real world experiences bring invaluable experience and training for the troops heading over to war.

Pfc. Justin K. Green, truck driver for the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Philadelphia, Pa., is preparing for deployment to Iraq. His mission may require him to walk the streets of Iraqi cities and villages.

He said the training he has received from Fort Dix has been outstanding. He is familiar with MOUT from basic combat training and home-station training, but the training he received at Fort Dix has given him a chance to expand beyond the basics.

“I never knew there were hiding spaces inside their houses. I learned a lot more about being more alert to my surroundings,” Green said.

Basic MOUT training is required for all Soldiers deploying to combat. No matter the
career field, infantry or human resources, the first priority for every Soldier is to be a rifleman. Knowing how to be tactically prepared for any situation is what MOUT training is all about.

1 comment:

Stefanie F. said...

I noticed you mentioned someone named Justin K. Green. I have been looking for my nephew, Justin Kendall Green, for some time. We were separated when he was 4 years old. He would be 21 now. Could this be him?