Prior to deploying to Afghanistan, Soldiers are required to become “certified” deployable. This includes everything from communications training to counter-IED training to combat lifesaving training. And it doesn’t stop back there.
Army Capt. Devin Ciminero, A Company, 1/182d company commander attached to Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, dismounts to meet with his team while on a combat patrol to sweep for roadside bomb triggermen in Alingar District, Laghman province, Aug. 8. The PRT is serving as the quick reaction force, ready to respond at a moment’s notice to unexpected incidents in the province. The QRF was called up to escort the explosives ordinance disposal team to a found improvised explosive device site while clearing previous blast sites along the way.
When we arrived in Manas, Kyrgyzstan we had to do more training. There is an Afghanistan briefing that solidifies our briefings on cultural awareness, rules of engagement, etc. It’s a necessary evil and one you can never have enough of. If our troops don’t understand the cultural battlefield, we’ll lose the physical one.
Normally, units would receive follow-on roll-over training in Manas as well. This training is part of the certification process back in the states, but is done as a refresher once we get into theater. Many deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in simple, combat and non-combat rollover of vehicles that either turn too fast or drop their tires in a ditch. The HEAT (HMMWV Egress Assistance Trainer) training is training that has reduced the number of those deaths since it was instituted widely in 2007.
Since the trainer was down, we have to do the training here in the 100+ heat (no pun intended). Thankfully, I think the trainer is indoors here, so it should be a comfortable 99!
Soldiers can never have enough training, even in a combat zone. We frequently use down time that isn’t devoted to rest and reset to polish up on basic skills, especially medical training. This training has come a LONG way over the past 10 years. The advances in technology available to troops is unprecedented. The average Joe has access to many lifesaving tools we didn’t have in 2003 in Iraq. The training is much more intense, comprehensive, and specific. Repetition saves lives when the adrenaline is pumping.
I don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll make this short. BLUF: It’s hot, dusty, and I’m proud to be doing my part!