Mock ambush scenario caps Special Forces exercise on Okinawa
Stars and Stripes August 2, 2006
NEAR TORII STATION, Okinawa — An Army Special Forces training exercise designed to help support soldiers be more comfortable and competent in a combat situation ended Monday with an ambush scenario that sent the squad into the woods for two hours of evasion tactics.
Sgt. 1st Class James Cole, who coordinated the training, said the course is “tailored to take a young support soldier and bring him up to a level where now he’s skilled.”
A variety of Okinawa-based soldiers in support specialties, including intelligence analysts and even a chaplain’s assistant, participated in the combat training.
“If you think about it, in Iraq, most guys who are seeing combat are support guys; maintenance guys who are going out to fix something and get attacked,” Cole said.
The last exercise in the three and half weeks of training started off Monday with an ambush on a three-vehicle convoy — a scenario that is common in Iraq — but training organizers were careful to stress that this exercise was not mission specific.
Without transportation, the squad was forced into the woods, where they had to evade the enemy while dealing with a “wounded” soldier who needed to be carried to a safe evacuation site.
Cole said the training helps improve weaponry, map-reading and team skills and takes them to a “more warrior level.”
“It makes it so they’re not afraid to step up and take a leadership role or listen to a leader,” he said.