Camp Shelby, MS, the place had a unique history as both WWI and WWII armies trained here. It is big, wooded, and hot. The humidity was horrible and although it looks like camping out it was miserable. Better than being frozen is all I can say about it. I met an old preacher that stopped to visit the museum and he said he had not been back since he trained in WWII as an Infantryman. I aske dif they had heat problems and he said heck yeah, had guys passing out all the time. Some things do not change. The 442nd Infantry trained here, the Japanese American Regiment of WWII fame.
The connex training villages were not my favorite trainng aids to put it mildly. The 278th RCT had a natural persona for dealing with people in a common sense and proper manner that served us well in Iraq. Thank God for COL Adam's, the WI guard could not even leave the post, Hattiesburg was a life saver, the people great and lots of the usual restaurants to go relax at when you had the chance. COL Adam's told the upper echelons that we were going to town and not beig stupid and sitting on Camp Shelby for months in the heat.
About half of these train ups are useless. No matter how hard they try they never match the reality of the actual mission. Mostly because the stupid evaluation process is so skewed and standardized, meaning the trainers just have to have an answer they were told to have. All of the infantry training was vastly substandard to what one did at the 82nd/101st/10th MTN etc. and I think The Infantry has an idea of what infantry training is. It is toughness and a coordinated response honed in miserable conditions on long field training exercises with multiple live fires in several different conditions (day/night).
Huge money is spent on this stuff (good for the Sate of MS) and not the most efficiently it could be spent, like going to the units going to Iraq instead. The reality was you road around with the unit you were replacing a few days once you arrived in Iraq and learned it the hard way, as usual, mixing with the population and doing a recon of the AO. You have to see it first hand to know it in these things. You could not really appreciate what the leaving soldiers were trying to say until you had the experience. All that interaction (cultural indoctrination) crap can be done in a classroom talking with an Iraqi instead of hanging out in some hokey village in MS doing scenarios that never approach reality. Combat arms soldiers can shoot back just fine and they know if a leg is blown off to turn the bloodflow off, even if they have to do it themselves. You want real transition then leave a unit in theater for the duration and send replacements to it instead of new units that would end the coming and going in masse.