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Stryker Wolves stalk, train in California sand

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Brian Lepley
U.S. Army Alaska PAO

Two Iraqi role-players harass a noncommissioned officer from Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, in the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 16. Their anger was caused by the Soldier pointing his weapon at a role player earlier in the mission.

Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Soldiers carry a casualty to a Stryker vehicle during a mission in the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 16. Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Soldiers carry a casualty to a Stryker vehicle during a mission in the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 16.

Two Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment Soldiers respond to a roadside bomb after the platoon's Strykers were bottled up on the road during a mission in the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 16.

A Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Soldier checks on a role player casualty during a mission in the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 16.

FORT IRWIN, Calif. – Sometime today, the National Training Center trainers will call ENDEX, or end of exercise, for the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

It’s been 14 days of nearly around-the-clock operations for the Arctic Wolves in NTC’s 358,000 acres of maneuver area. From the optempo of the missions, to the realism of the mock villages and role players, to the operating bases being positioned as they are in Iraq, the mission in California’s Mojave Desert prepared the 1-25th SBCT well for its upcoming deployment as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“NTC has trained us better. The effects, the observer/controllers are right on there to tell you what you did wrong,” said Sgt. Jason Warren, a team leader for A Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. “They have video of the action in the villages, so it’s good.”

The trainers who shadow the 1-25 SBCT Soldiers as they carry out missions are one aspect of the effort the NTC puts into readying units slated for Iraq. Situational training exercises happen for a week before the unit goes to full-spectrum operations. The STX are staged on imitation Iraqi streets with role players as Iraq citizens.

“Being out in the villages here looks exactly like it (Iraq). The pyrotechnics are a very close reality to what they will see, hear and feel in Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Chris Wolney, executive officer for the 1-25th SBCT.  “It does create the tension level. It really replicates it very well here. NTC has done a fabulous job.”

Editor’s note: See next week’s Alaska Post for continued coverage of SBCT’s mission to NTC. To see photos of the unit at NTC, go to https://richardson.ak.pac.army.mil/intranet/

resources.htm on an Army computer. Under Public Affairs, click on “USARAK Photos” and access the “1-25@NTC Aug 2008” folder.

A Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, Light Medium Tactical Vehicle is blasted by a roadside bomb as it evacuates from the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 16. A Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, Soldier clambers up steps to the second level of a building responding to sniper fire in the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 16.

B Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, Soldiers discuss a concluded mission in the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 15.

A roadside bomb catches two Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Soldiers unaware during a mission in the mock village of Medina Wasl at the National Training Center July 16. A roadside bomb in the same spot about 20 minutes earlier began the engagement for the platoon.