FORT IRWIN, Calif. (6/14/2012) – As I slid up beside the house,
it felt like my heart was about to thump through my chest or as if a
bass drummer was keeping a constant beat on my heart. I tried
remembering to slow down my breathing and try to maintain composure.
The person closest to the door felt around it with his fingertips
and found nothing. It was time to enter, but we weren't invited
there for dinner – we were there to kick a door down and execute our
Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division approach a house during Military Operations in Urban Terrain training June 12,
2012 at Fort Irwin, Calif. Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
This is how Sgt. Kyle Chattin described how he felt when entering
the mock house during Military Operations in Urban Terrain training
at the National Training Center here June 12. He is assigned to 1st
Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry
Division; the unit is in final preparation for their deployment to
Afghanistan later this fall.
“I was a part of two raids when
deployed to Iraq,” said Chattin. “Each time I got butterflies in my
stomach, but I remained calm and remembered what I learned during
The unit conducted the training in
preparation for their partnership with Afghan National Security
Forces role players. The scene
was made as realistic as possible for the Soldiers as they
dismounted their Stryker vehicles and provided cover to the other
team tasked with raiding the houses.
Staff Sgt. Bryant Bamba, a pacific islander who wears a
Ranger tab on his left shoulder, is a squad leader with 1st
Bn., 38th Inf. Regt.; he explained the purpose of the
training being conducted.
“We only raid houses that
are believed to house high value targets,” said Bamba, a
native of Guam. “Once we find the targets, we capture them.
We have to convey this message strongly to the security
forces we'll be training.”
Today's target was on the
second floor of the last house they searched. He wore an
Army uniform and didn't speak or put up a fight.
“This mission ended with us capturing a dummy, but in real
life it won't be and we have to train in preparation for him
to fight back,” said Bamba who has deployed twice during his
Both leaders supervise Soldiers who have no
combat experience and are training for the first time on how
to enter a house. Chattin shared some tips he tells the
Soldiers in order to get them focused when conducting this
“I tell them to slow down,” said Chattin, a
native of Long Beach, Calif. “If you take your time and
remember what you learned there will be less confusion once
Chattin then smirked and said that he has
to continue to remind himself to slow down.
Army, the philosophy that,”Training is what we do, not
something we do,” is outlined in the leadership manual. But
the Army also has ways to access the training and provide
feedback on what can be improved and sustained.
believes that once you receive the feedback, you have to
take it and use what was brought up the next time you train.
“Once we know what we're lacking on, we conduct more
rehearsals and practice,” said Bamba.
ensures that everyone on his team is aware of every detail
of the mission by sitting them down and going over it with
them. He wants even the lowest ranking Soldier to be
informed in case they have to assume a leadership role.
Personally for Bamba, taking this training seriously is
one of his main concerns for his Soldiers, because he has
lost close friends in combat who were doing similar
“I keep their memory close to my heart in
honor of the family and friends who loved them,” Bamba said.
“It reminds me that it's my obligation to preserve the lives
of my soldiers and myself.”
Both Soldiers feel that
their unit is prepared to conduct their mission of training
security forces in Afghanistan. Chattin expressed that his
emphasis on training in his unit is paramount.
first sergeant puts training first, and he makes sure that
his leaders pass that mindset along to everyone.”
By Army Staff Sgt. Antwaun Parrish
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