CAMP HOVEY, South Korea — By the time they graduate from basic training, soldiers know how to fire a rifle and score hits at long range.

But firing in a close-quarters ambush takes practice, and reacting properly in an ambush is something any soldier in a convoy — combat specialty or not — may have to do in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Tuesday at Shay Range on Camp Hovey, soldiers from Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division got a taste of what it’s like to get ambushed.

Teams of soldiers entered a Humvee and waited for range controllers to call out enemy contact.

The troops then exited, firing their rifles at paper body targets at short range. While some continued to fire, others ran back to another Humvee in the convoy and fired from the new position.

“It gets competitive out there,” said Spc. Clint Steen of Company A, from Joseph, Ore. “Hopefully we’ll be using these skills downrange.”

Special Troops Battalion soldiers come from a wide variety of military specialties. Some fire their weapons every month; others spend more time at a desk or in more technical jobs.

Others, like military policeman Pfc. Timothy Pray, haven’t been in the Army that long and look to more experienced soldiers to show them the ropes.

“[At first] I didn’t know what to expect whatsoever,” said Pray, of Boston. “But we spent three to four weeks training up for this, so the comfort level was there.”

Sgt. Wilmer Matamoros, also a military policeman, served with the 101st Airborne in Iraq. He says he’s been in similar situations to the training — the big difference being that his enemies weren’t paper targets.

“Hands-on training gets the soldiers motivated for the real deal,” said Matamoros, of Fort Campbell, Ky. “They get to know the power behind the weapon.”

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