Suddenly, they become alert and begin moving around, peeking around corners and through windows. “They’re on their way, about two minutes,” one of them says. Their personalities change from Soldiers out camping, to weary villagers about to receive a visit from a platoon of infantry paratroopers. They cover their faces, hide AK-47s, and position themselves throughout the mockup village.
In the nearby woods, American Soldiers approach slowly and with caution. They’re unsure if these people are going to be friendly, or openly hostile. Only time will tell.
The paratroopers of 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conducted a two-week field training exercise to fine tune their preparations, for the challenges they might face as part of the global response force mission.
They moved to Holland Drop Zone to wait for a C-130; from which they conducted a parachute assault to Normandy Drop Zone with full combat equipment. After landing, the infantrymen activated their weapons, turned on their radios and moved to their parachute collection points.
The paratroopers marched tactically across their “battlefield” to the first objective — a company attack on a range known as “Live Fire Village.”
“Every company lane began with a company attack,” said Capt. Hicham Bakkar, the battalion fire support officer. “Once they complete the company attack, they establish their patrol base and prepare to move to one of three situational training exercises located throughout the battalion’s area of operations,” he said.
Each lane represented different scenarios the platoons could encounter ranging from day and night raids of hostile objectives, to key leader engagements with the local population.
Always available to support the infantry on the battlefield were the forward observers and the mortar firing teams. Although unable to fire live rounds into their own training areas, training was still possible for these indirect fire infantrymen, said Bakkar.
“The purpose of the field exercise for the mortars is to exercise their tactics, techniques, and procedures for occupying a mortar firing point tactically, and moving from one point to another tactically,” Bakkar said.
It’s important to evaluate the ability of all the paratroopers in the battalion to do their troop leading procedures in training so they’re confident they can do them right if they were to deploy as the Army’s Global Response Force, Bakkar explained.