1st AD soldiers training for '06 Iraq deployment

By STEVE MRAZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 15, 2005

Over the next three months, about 3,000 soldiers from V Corps’ 1st Armored Division will deploy for exercises at Hohenfels and Grafenwöhr training areas in southeast Germany to get soldiers ready for their next Iraq deployment.

This round of training was scheduled before 1st AD units returned from Iraq in July 2004. Exercise Iron Lightning will ready the units for their next trip downrange in early 2006, said Capt. Aaron Hatok, a 1st AD spokesman.

“This is what the commander considers to be the capstone of their retraining in coming back from Iraq,” Hatok said. “This training puts everything together in an environment where they’ll be able to conduct full spectrum operations when they’re complete.”

By full spectrum operations, Hatok refers to having units capable of conducting counter-insurgency operations as well as major combat operations.

About 3,000 1st AD troops recently returned from a similar two-month training exercise in Grafen- wöhr and Hohenfels.

The exercises encompass lessons that U.S. forces have learned in Iraq, such as having traditional field artillery regiments act as task forces performing counter-insurgency operations, Hatok said. Those counter-insurgency operations include raids and patrols.

And much like combat deployments, the action begins as soon as the units depart, said Maj. Michael Indovina, 1st AD spokesman.

“It’s ‘game on’ the minute you leave the back gate,” Indovina said.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, mainly composed of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment; 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment; and 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, recently completed Exercise Iron Lightning.

The Division Artillery Combat Team, primarily from the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment; 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment; and 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, are training now.

Vehicles from 2nd Brigade Combat Team cordon off an area during their training exercise.

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