Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Off to NTC

Well, I apologize but I will be away from the blogosphere for a period of time while my unit conducts our Mission Readiness Exercise (MRE or MRX depending on who you ask) at the National Training Center (NTC) at Ft. Irwin, CA. It may be Southern California, but it’s more like Iraq than San Diego or Los Angeles.

It’s a great training opportunity that will allow my unit to exercise C2 (Command and Control) and prepare for our upcoming deployment to OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom). I am particularly looking forward to our time in the Box (the training area at NTC) where we will conduct STX (Squad Training Exercise – I think) lanes and FSO (Full Spectrum Operations) in an eight-day force on force exercise.

The Box at NTC, during a units rotation, becomes an imaginary province in Iraq that is specifically designed to reflect the area in Iraq that the unit will serve in. The two weeks in the box serve as a controlled window to understand and prepare for the actual deployment in the real sandbox. There are soldiers at NTC who play Iraqi locals, who play Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and who play the terrorists and insurgents currently fighting against a free-Iraq embodied by the Government of Iraq (GoI). Our unit (an infantry brigade) will get the opportunity to control battlespace, action targets, conduct the fusion of intelligence to prepare for present and future operations (my job – I promise to publish a detailed blog on this as a later date), and conduct everything else required to support a unit engaged in FSO.

It’s currently 110 at Ft. Irwin. So, it should make for a pretty good representation of Iraq.

While I am gone, enjoy the British Open, the All Star Game, the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline (come on Cubs, we need pitching help), and the Olympic Trials. Please read Michael Yon and Bill Roggio for War on Terror news and Rocco Palmo for Church stories. Have a great month of July. God Bless you all.

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