Sgt. Mary Lopez
3rd Brigade Combat Team Journalist
FORT POLK, La. – Col. Sam Whitehurst, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, held a news conference with provincial and Afghan military leaders June 4 at Forward Operating Base Anvil to answer questions about the upcoming transfer of authority.
This simulation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., was accomplished using native Afghan role players speaking in their native languages, Pashto and Dari.
Media members attending the news conference also were role players, adding to the scenario’s realism.
“The observer-controllers who served as our mentors, the cultural role players, and the Soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team of 10th Mountain Division who supported our rotation provided a great training environment,” Whitehurst said.
This exercise is a key training event at JRTC for the brigade, which is training in preparation for possible deployment.
“Before we deployed to Fort Polk, we all agreed that we wanted to win at JRTC,” Whitehurst continued. “For us, winning meant learning and getting better every day while we were here.”
The trip to JRTC has allowed them to conduct realistic training, including reacting to contact, convoy operations, treating a casualty, medical evacuation procedures, combat support operations, advise and assist roles and other training required for possible deployment.
The training there is a check to ensure they are prepared technically, tactically, mentally and physically for the heavy demands of combat.
“I do believe it has prepared me very well because the situation we have been put in is very high-paced,” said Pfc. Curtis Weatherwax.
Each unit within the brigade goes through a sequence of high-stress scenario-based situational training exercises to build teamwork and trust essential for a possible deployment.
Soldiers of 4th Platoon of Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, conducted numerous combat patrols with Af-ghan counterparts as part of their scenario-based training.
This type of training is essential for Soldiers who are new to the concept of advising and assisting other military units.
The training at JRTC was what made this rotation so different from previous ones.
The force-on-force operations, which puts the brigade against a singular militant opposition, was scaled back to allow for adequate training in key leader engagements and other training associated with the advise and assist mission.
“I believe that the training that I’ve gotten has been very effective,” Weatherwax said.
For Soldiers such as Weatherwax, the training at JRTC has built confidence in their abilities.
“We accomplished the goal of getting better every single day,” Whitehurst said.