Story and photo by Pfc. Khori Johnson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division arrived in Kuwait in mid-March to begin final training and preparations for the brigade’s 12-month deployment to train and mentor Iraqi security forces.
The “Iron” Brigade’s first wave of Soldiers recently placed “boots on the ground” at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, a joint-service post that serves as a staging area before units move into Iraq.
“Our mission challenges us to be an advisory and assistance brigade, which means our responsibility is to coach, teach and mentor the Iraqi security forces to do their job well,” said Maj. Troy Parish, current operations officer, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
The brigade trained extensively during the past year in preparation for the mission it is about to assume, said Parrish.
While in Kuwait, the Iron Brigade will complete a series of training exercises to help prepare for a variety of possible contingencies during its deployment.
This mandatory training teaches Soldiers the procedures for surviving improvised explosive device attacks, properly evacuating vehicle rollovers and the rules of engagement.
“All of the training that we do is designed to protect our Soldiers from what they will likely encounter while conducting operations in Iraq,” said Parish.
The Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Egress Trainer is a large MRAP vehicle mock-up that is designed to roll 90 to 180 degrees, simulating a rollover accident. The training teaches Soldiers how to escape the potentially dangerous situation.
Such training has been credited with saving numerous lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Parish.
“I have been in a Humvee rollover before, and it is all about your response,” said Staff Sgt. David Thomas, brigade chaplain assistant, 3rd BCT. “If you train your response, then you will act accordingly.”
Camp Buehring provides many conveniences to Soldiers during down time. Some of these services include a free laundry service, cybercafes, call centers and food courts.
The gym, post exchange, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and USO facilities are available 24-hours a day.
Soldiers stay in large open-bay tents, each accommodate approximately 70 people. The tents have air conditioning and electrical power provided by large generators. Many of the tents offer limited wireless Internet connectivity. Trailers with individual shower stalls and sinks are located throughout the living areas.
Iron Brigade Soldiers, who did not have access to many of these services during previous training events, such as Operation Iron Strike and their training rotation to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., said they appreciate the provided amenities.
“Everyone likes to stay connected,” said Pfc. Kimberly Hinojosa, supply specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “So it is good that we have phones and Internet that we can use at places like the USO.”