26 February 2008

Sailors, Airmen Learn Army Way in Joint Training

Airmen and sailors from all over the world convened at the Joint Maneuver Training Center here last month to train for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When deployed, these reserve and active-duty servicemembers will not perform in their normal specialties, but rather will fill specific needs in the combat theater.

"I was a little anxious to be embedded with the Air Force at first. There are only five of us embedded with 60 to 70 Air Force members, but they have been completely inclusive, and it really has been a great experience so far training with them," said Navy Lt. Giovinazzi Giles.

Weapons training and qualification was one of the first portions of training the servicemembers received.

"Experiencing Army training (and) doing road marches (in) full 'battle rattle' has opened my eyes, and I have really grown to respect the Army mission and culture," Giles said.

"Camp Atterbury has opened my eyes for what to expect," Air Force Airman 1st Class Amanda Lacy said. "I am nervous about the deployment, but I am more confident in my weapons training, more than ever before because of the training here."

The joint operations training also includes Army combative training, country and language familiarization, military operations on urban terrain training, and combat life-saver courses.

"I am a little nervous about the deployment, but the training here has helped out tremendously," Giles said. "It supplies a chance to adjust to full-time military life by providing full immersion training. Here at Camp Atterbury, I am finding the chance to get into the right mindset to get deployed."

Along training in reacting to simulated events, participants also completed preventive training, such as learning how to correctly search cars and people at traffic-control points and how to spot improvised explosive devices from convoys.

"The instructors here are great," Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mark Schechter said. "All of them have been on at least one (combat) tour, so they are able to share their experiences and relate personal stories to the material they are teaching us. This makes training more interesting."

The servicemembers completed their training at Forward Operating Base Bayonet and in classrooms within their barracks.

"The training at the FOB has been a little more austere than what I expected, but that is a good thing," Schechter said. "This helps desensitize us to the possible living conditions that we may experience overseas."

The servicemembers will continue to complete full-immersion Army training here until they move on to in-theater immersion training before traveling overseas.

Author Army Spc. Elizabeth Gorenc serves with Camp Atterbury Public Affairs.
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