Armor battalion conducts team trench-clearing training exercise
Soldiers of Co. A, 2nd Bn., 34th Armor Regt., advance down a narrow trench together during a trench-clearing training event Oct. 10 at Fort Riley. Sixty Soldiers from the company were at the Trench and Mine Facility to develop as a team and gain confidence in a simulated tactical environment. Photo by: 2nd Lt. Daniel Kelly, 1ST ABCT.
Story by: 2nd Lt. Daniel Kelly, 2ND BN., 34TH ARMOR REGT.
Soldiers with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division participated in trench-clearing training at the Trench and Mine Facility Oct. 10 and 11. The purpose of the training was to develop as a team and gain confidence in a simulated tactical environment.
About 60 Soldiers armed with paintball guns and masks experienced first-hand the difficulties in combating an enemy in an entrenched position and learned to work as a team in order to clear their objective.
"The intent of this exercise was to have the squads work together and develop squad-level (standard operating procedures), as well as give squad leaders and team leaders the confidence to maneuver their teams," said Capt. Christopher Minter, commander, Co. A. "In addition, we went over Battle Drill 7 – enter and clear a trench.
Most of the Soldiers had no experience with this battle drill, said 2nd Lt. William Osilaja, 3rd Platoon leader, Co. A.
"At the beginning of the training, I had asked who had done it before, and only a few had raised their hands," Osilaja said. "This is the first time our company has done training like this. Those of us who have done this battle drill haven't done this in years."
Each squad was given a dry run to practice its techniques before they attempted to clear the trench at full speed and with paintballs. Paintballs provided realism and demonstrated the dangers of close quarters combat.
"The purpose of the paintballs was to stress the importance of individual movement techniques and add a level of fun to it that the guys seemed to really like," Minter said.
In the close quarters of the trench complex, squad members had to rely on teamwork, communication and proper movement to accomplish their objective and clear the trench.
"People were definitely out of their comfort zone." Osilaja said. "In the beginning, it wasn't pretty at all, but toward the end, there was a vast improvement. At the end of the day, the Soldiers definitely had a sense of accomplishment."
Osilaja said he believed the training was successful in accomplishing its goal.
"It gave the squad leaders a chance to get out there with their men and actually lead them," he said. "The leadership and control of your squad being stressed out there can be applied not only to trench warfare, but to all battle drills."