Fort McCoy News August 08, 2014

Real-world simulations highlight 3655th training

135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers of the 3655th Component Repair Company (CRC), 1034th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Iowa National Guard hit the ground running during annual training at Fort McCoy, Wis., July 14, learning how to react if their convoy is attacked.

Photo 1 for 3655th article
Opposing forces use a red smoke grenade to cause confusion as they ambush a convoy of trucks manned by Soldiers of the 3655th Component Repair Company during training at Fort McCoy in July.
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A 3655th Component Repair Company Soldier scans for hostile forces from the cab of his light medium tactical vehicle during a training exercise on a Fort McCoy range.

In this scenario, their convoy of medium tactical vehicles (FMTVs) is ambushed by direct and indirect fire, as well as improvised explosive devices in villages modeled after those found in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company — one of the largest in the Iowa National Guard — is composed of mechanics, machinists and repair personnel, not Soldiers who typically train day-to-day on how to react to such attacks.

"The training is important because the one thing you have to execute is the mission. We all have to shoot, move, and communicate as Soldiers. Being a maintenance company, our focus is on our mechanics, but they also have to know how to protect themselves. We're all soldiers first, before our secondary trade," said Capt. Joshua Hansen, of Norwalk, Iowa, the 3655th CRC company commander.

His Soldiers agreed, praising the realism and impact on any future real-world missions.

"It saves lives and keeps you alive. It helps throughout, and it helps get the mission done," said Spc. Dillon Rieger of Johnston, Iowa, a 3655th CRC radio repairer.

The focus on completing the mission — whether repairing and rebuilding components, convoy operations, or reacting to enemy fire — is the primary concern of the 3655th's leadership.

"They're not just focusing on their military occupational specialty; they're focusing on being Soldiers and relying on each other and reacting to different situations that might happen," said 3655th CRC 1st Sgt. Joel Laird, of Des Moines, Iowa.

This training provides yet another unique opportunity to teach young Soldiers. In each of the villages, cameras recorded all of the action.

"We're going to use the video as much as we can in the future to train our Soldiers," said Laird.

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Soldiers with the 3655th Component Repair Company
convoy on a range road during training.