February 12, 2003 at 11:03 PM CST - Updated June 17 at 6:26 AM
Urban Warfare Training at Ft Campbell By: Amy Jacquin
(Fort Campbell, KY)--Training for the deadliest type of combat -- door-to-door fighting. That's the purpose behind the new urban warfare training site at Ft. Campbell. This is another in a series of reports focusing on the military base.
Military experts are saying, if we go to war with Iraq, it'll likely involve heavy amounts of door-to-door combat. So the new training center is pivitol in getting our soldiers ready for war.
Soldiers storm a building, running in through doors and splitting up down hallways... they're learning to take a building... systematically securing each room, hallway, stairwell, elevator, alcove and closet.
"These teams have to be very well disciplined, and know each other... know what the other is going to do," explains Major Trey Cate.
When they storm a room, they each have a direction they have to cover. They can't deviate from their duties, or it could cost them their life. This type of urban warfare training is so important, because in a real war situation, this is the type of fighting that kills the most soldiers.
"You two would have been dead if you would have passed that door without clearing it," explains one training officer to his squad.
"What's so important about all this, is that this is the most dangerous type of fighting we can do," reiterates Major Cate. "You never know what's behind the next door, or what's on every rooftop, or where the next shooter is going to be."
We're in a "city" built within Fort Campbell, full of building that resemble courthouses... schools... churches... apartments... and federal buildings to practice in. It's called the the M.O.U.T. site -- or Military Operations for Urban Terrain. About the only thing it lacks is pavement.
"You can't measure how much this means to us," says Cate, about the facility that just opened last fall. "This is a great facility."
The soldiers all wear metal boxes on the backs of their helmets and shoulders. Those metal boxes are laser receptors. And every weapon has a laser emitter. So when they fire, it's possible to track how accurate they aim -- or if they get hit by enemy fire.
"So as they're going through training here in the city, if they get shot at, and it's a nearby miss, they ge a little beep," describes Cate. "If they're hit all the way, they get what we call a 'kill.' At that point, they have to lay down and pull out a casualty card which tells them how bad they're injured. At that point, paramedics come in and have to take over and treat the injury as it's written on the card."
This is training on the squad level. Soon these men will join the rest of Bravo Company 1st Battalion of the 327th, about 150 men. "They'll practice the same thing," says Cate. "Once they've got that down, it'll progress to a battalion level, which is about 750 men, coming in a clearing a city. When we're done with that, we go up to the full Brigade exercise, which is up to 5,000 men taking a city."
They have to learn their capabilities and their limits... and mentally conquer urban warfare before being sent into real enemy territory.