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53rd IBCT Conducts War-like' training at XCTC

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MARCOA Media
Story by SGT Michael Baltz on 08/28/2019
CAMP SHELBY, Miss., August 11, 2019 (Story by: Sgt. Michael Baltz) Moving as a company element, divided into platoons and squads, Florida Army National Guard Soldiers with the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct lane training exercises while participating in the Army National Guard's three-week eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program.

For the exercise, Company B, aims to break through an unfriendly secured area with the assistance of combat engineers, who will use explosives to get the company through the secured area. This scenario will create a lane of movement for the company to assault through the area and engage the enemy force.

"[The lane training exercise] attempts to simulate war-like conditions," said Staff Sgt. Patrick Shelley, an observer-coach-trainers for the exercise. "I see a lot of infantry units show tremendous strides toward growth on basic solider task."
Shelley's role in the exercise is reflected in his title: he will observe, coach and train. Once the mission is completed, he will assist with an after action review, which is a professional discussion of the training event, where he will be able to highlight mission successes and provide guidance on training opportunities.

The training event started long before the Soldiers made it near the secured area.

"In preparation, we do a platoon rehearsal-of-concept and walk through the mission step-by-step," said 2nd Lt. Aaron Straker, Company B, 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment. "We rehearse and learn how to quickly react to different situations from the enemy."

The night prior to the exercise, the leaders of Company B receive the order and direction from the commander. From there Straker and his team planned the specifics on how to assault the secured area taking into account mitigating factors and conducting risk assessments.

During the exercise, the company will navigate through the heavily wooded Mississippi terrain in order to reach the secured area. They will need to be adaptive and alert as there are opposing forces strategically placed throughout the lane to provide resistance. The opposing forces are Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery out of Fort Bragg, and they simulate a peer or near-peer enemy.

"On deployments you always fall back to the level of you training," said Sgt. Ryan Decker, Company B, 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment. "The scenarios really put you in the mindset to go overseas and execute the mission there. You're always going to fall back to that scenario and that repetition you created in a place like this."

The lane training exercise will allow the members of the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to reach a high-level of readiness for any potential real-world missions.

"[The lane training exercise] really allows us to take our training and proficiency to the next level," said Straker. "We are making great strides in our basic Soldier task, whether it is responsiveness to pulling security, or just having an increase of situational awareness and knowing what to do in various scenarios."

At the conclusion of the eXportable Combat Training Capability program, Soldiers of the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, would have experienced a vast number of training exercises developed to ensure battlefield proficiency.

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