For around 100 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers, it’s their final chance to prepare before being deployed.
“They’re training to go overseas and do a route clearance mission. Which is basically where they go out in vehicles and they look for improvised explosive devices, and other vehicle bound improvised explosive devices and other explosive ordnance that would hurt convoys that would follow on behind them as they do their mission,” said Brig. Gen. Tony Wright, Deputy Commanding General of the 88th Readiness Division.
At the end of June, the 348th Route Clearance Company out of Missouri will be in Afghanistan for next year.
Wednesday was their final training exercise.
For the company, Wednesday’s exercise was the culmination of nearly a month of training at Fort McCoy.
“It’s fun,” says Spec. Matthew Amsbaugh, with the 348th Route Clearance Company. “It’s very action packed, we stay very busy during all this training. Not much downtime, they’re doing a lot to prepare us for our mission overseas.”
At Fort McCoy, this is the first time in years the base has mobilized units for deployment.
That is because the army is preparing more bases to mobilize troops at a moments notice, if need be.
“The army understood that they had a gap in the ability to do that, so that’s why they created these MFGI’s, Mobilization Force Generation Installation,” said Wright.
On Wednesday, soldiers completed a Convoy Protection Live Fire Exercise.
“If we don’t replicate that here, the first time they see that is when they get in theater. So nobody wants their son or daughter, the first time they interact with civilians on the battlefield is to be when it’s live and it’s in theater and the pressure’s on. So all that’s been specifically designed to expose them and test them and asses them on the things that they’ll encounter in theater,” said Wright.
Amsbaugh agrees the training helps.
“As realistic as possible. (Opposing Force), you know firing blank rounds. Today we were using live ammunition, which is about as real as it gets,” said Amsbaugh.
Army officials say this specific training is usually completed at Fort Bliss in Texas.