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Monday, May 12, 2008

Training The Force At NTC

I spent a few days embeded with a Army unit out of Ft. Carson, CO. at the Army's National Training Center NTC at Ft. Irwin, Ca.
It was only three days for me and a writer which seems insignificant compared to the 30 days for the soldiers of the U.S. Army's 167 Armor, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Lucky for us and them the full force of the Mojave summer had not taken hold. The wind and dust however were to be reckoned with. I took advice and taped up my cameras like Olympic athletes. Blocking as many cracks dust may get into as possible.
Some highlights of the trip included about 20 minutes in the back of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a once-in-a-lifetime trip... not to be attempted (on purpose) again. Sealed in, dark, dust still found its way in anyway, look out tiny periscopes, hope you don't get motion sickness, fillings rattling from teeth, can't hear yourself think loud. Dang.
About five miles cross-country in an M1A2 SEP Tank. Much smoother and I was half way out of the top turret with fresh air except when the tank's plow hit dirt, then it was a face full of sand and rocks. I'm glad I had goggles on.
We spent time on patrol in the town talking to Iraqi actors who were there to add realism NTC style.
The Combat Out Post was "attacked" at dusk with a lot of gunfire and... dust. Off to bed in my wheel less box car and a midnight mock mortar attack.
This was about my 12th trip to Ft.Irwin for various assignments and the best.

CLICK --HERE-- to see the NTC slide show (not photos)

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