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July 27, 2012

News

Special Forces troops train opposing forces during CSTX

By PFC James Bradford, 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT McCOY, Wis. — The Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) at Fort McCoy is a chance for Soldiers from all over the U.S. to go through training scenarios and hone in on their warrior tasks and battle drills.
PHOTO: A team leader for the opposing force during the Combat Support Training Exercise, checks each member of his team. Photo by PFC James Bradford
Sgt. Alfred Regis, a team leader for the opposing force during the Combat Support Training Exercise, checks each member of his team to prepare a situation report after an ambush. (Photo by Pfc. James Bradford)

To make the scenarios as realistic as possible, the 314th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion brought in a Special Forces (SF) unit to help teach proper techniques to the opposing force (OPFOR) team, said Spc. Marie Rosanne Quicho, a transportation management coordinator in the 645th Transportation Company from Las Vegas.

There is stillness throughout the area. The team is set. The sound of tires rolling up the road is getting louder. The anticipation builds. Boom! “Open fire!” The attack is now underway.

Sgt. Alfred Regis, a wheeled vehicle mechanic recovery specialist from the 645th Transportation Company and one of the team leaders for the OPFOR, and his team begin their attack on the convoy of coalition forces rolling through the area.

“Normally the SF will get the mission for the following day and will disseminate down to me and I’ll take that information and let my Soldiers know,” said Regis. “I have to get my team ready. The SF tells me what I need to do the following morning and I get my team ready for that.”

PHOTO: Equipment to support training for a Special Forces Group is airdropped at Fort McCoy. Photo by Herb Dowell
Equipment to support training for a Special Forces Group supporting the Combat Support Training Exercise at Fort McCoy is airdropped into an installation landing zone. (Photo by Herb Dowell)

While the SF were at the CSTX to teach Soldiers how to maneuver, the missions are still led by the team leaders.

“I ensure that all their equipment is good, their motivation level is up and they are excited about the mission,” said Regis.

A usual day for OPFOR starts by waking up at 5:30 a.m. to start preparing for the mission. Depending on what the mission is, they may have to improvise necessary items.

When Regis heard the news that his team was supposed to lead an attack involving simulated RPG fire, he and his team used whatever scraps they could find, mainly tubing and duct tape, to construct dummy RPGs. These lanes are definitely something Soldiers can expect to see when they go overseas, said Regis.

“We try to make the scenarios as realistic as possible,” said Regis. “However, with the fire ban in effect we have to focus more on vocalization.”

“We still have things like small-arms fire with blanks, “he added.

PHOTO: Members of a Special Forces Group parachute into Fort McCoy. Photo by Herb Dowell
Members of a Special Forces Group parachute into Fort McCoy at the beginning of the Combat Support Training Exercise. (Photo by Herb Dowell)

“The force will depend on the lane. If it’s small-arms fire, we usually just lay fire on the convoy as they pass through. It’s all mission dictating,” said Regis.

The OPFOR wants to make the scenarios as realistic as possible, however safety is always a factor, said Quicho.

“No physical contact is allowed on any type of mission,” said Regis.

The OPFOR is here for the length of the exercise.

Their time spent as OPFOR will count as their annual training, since the unit was limited with what they could do with their jobs, said Quicho.

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