by Sgt. Michael Cost
100th Missile Defense Brigade
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Although no tents were pitched or shower points constructed, the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) went to minimum manning on their city-saving consoles to conduct an Army Warrior Training exercise here Aug. 22.
Ten tasks were completed, giving these missile defenders and staff members a chance to re-familiarize themselves with Soldier tasks not frequently practiced in such a unit. The Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 provided a focal point, enabling training on weapons seldom seen by crew members or staff.
The Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 provides initial and sustainment marksmanship training, static unit collective gunnery and tactical training, and shoot/don’t shoot training. It supports the following three modes of training: marksmanship, squad/fire team collective and judgmental use of force. The system models 11 small arms and is deployable with its own system shelter. All EST 2000 training scenarios are U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command validated.
“It was an excellent opportunity for the Soldiers to work as a cohesive team rather than being segregated to their perspective sections,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Knight, Intelligence Analyst, 100th MDB (GMD).
“It is a rare opportunity that National Guardsmen can train on expensive and dangerous crew served weapons…the EST 2000 allowed us to familiarize ourselves as well as work through scenarios we otherwise would not be able to experience without substantial cost and resources to the unit,” Sergeant Knight said.
“This exercise, although not all encompassing, paved the way for more tactical training downrange. In the future, we hope to see these basic Soldier skills incorporated in training as this was very beneficial for Soldiers and leaders alike,” he said.
After lunch, the Soldiers of the 100th moved to their next station which was a paintball course intended to train them on battle drills. The Colorado Army National Guard Recruiting Command supplied the mobile paintball course for the Soldiers, which included inflatable barriers, paintball guns, CO2 cartridges, a seemingly endless amount of paintballs, and safety equipment.
Although it sounds like fun and games, putting such equipment in the hands of trained Soldiers led to displaying a plethora of different tactics, techniques and procedures that made this a beyond the “run of the mill” game of paintball.
“It allowed us to react to contact, do three to five second buddy rushes, lay down suppressive fire…but most of all we got to shoot each other in the face and laugh about it at the end of the day,” said Sgt. Joseph Ten Eyck, Local Area Network Manager.
“There were complaints of welts and bruises the following Monday morning, but when you can realistically train like that and everyone goes home safely at the end, that makes the training all the more worthwhile,” Sergeant Eyck said.
All kidding aside, this was the first time the 100th MDB got together as a whole in this type of forum and the senior leadership stressed the need for such training.
“There is a lot of importance to this training,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Rhodes, 100th MDB (GMD) command sergeant major. “I want every Soldier in this brigade to realize that they are still Soldiers…whether your battle is fought with a pen, keyboard or a missile, you still have to realize that there is a fight going on out there so it’s important to keep up on your tasks and drills.”
Normally, AWT is held at each platoon’s respective training area — with an occasional training day outside of the classroom throughout the year for the 100th. This is changing to a more hands-on approach for the brigade as more of these training exercises are being planned for the future.
“We’ll gradually increase the focus more on actually being in the field and getting our boots dirty,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Rhodes. “We’ll do land navigation among other situational training in a field environment throughout the year which will lead to a crowning event in the fourth quarter — a rigorous Situational Training Exercise.”
“Overall, this was a very positive first step in bringing this unit to a very battle focused mindset,” he said.
The 100th MDB is an ever-changing unit that is constantly undergoing the stresses of spiral development. They are on the forefront of some of the most advanced technology any Army unit has seen to date, which makes it easy to lose focus on basic Soldier skills. Training events like this and the prospect of expanding training in the future will ensure these Soldiers won’t have blinders on their eyes if the time ever comes that they need to go downrange and utilize it in a combat zone.