Most of these guys deployed, I am done, medically discharging as of AUG 2009, several have been wounded already.
We went to JRTC in June 2007 and worked with ODA/SF teams while the 101st were there also, FOB Budro was where we stayed and it was one miserable affair. The 101st guys suffered mightily in the new add-on body armor, we watched some walking across the FOB just fall on their face and pass out from heat exhaustion. We went hollywood with SF and the Puerto Rican NG, no plates. The "live fire" sucked compared to 101st Airborne ones I had done in 1994-96. It was hyped by command and the SF guys (CA Guard), it was pretty laughable in the end, ODA blew the doors off and that incapacitated the automatic dummies that were supposed to shoot back at us, the explosion blew them down KIA et al. Good training overall though as anytime you get to suffer in the heat, clear buildings (that was good stuff-the clearing buildings part along with the prep for live fire, actually real good), living like a pig, and conducting some night ops it is always good. ODA was real fun especially Hank the slayer from HRT team with FBI or something, real cool dude from CA. The night ops stuff was crazy, they backed over their medic, nosed dived into serious ditch driving in black out mode NODs (but kept going), and assorted other things that were just fun stuff, like showing our guys how to stitch up each other and practice the ol IV, the stitch up was real world so cool, we got to watch one of our guys get sewn up by another. The 101st 1SG ate our ass for shooting star clusters up in the air repeatedly the last day, I told him we were done then two more went off as he walked away, that was pretty funny to us anyway. I told him we were just stupid not insubordinate, celebrating leaving FOB Budro. Looks like the Tankers switched to the RECON quite nicely, had one knife pulling but nobody got cut, and Rome tossed all their guys into a huge mud pit back at the garrison barracks. Yee-Haaaaa. I am broke dick now an unfit for duty designee waiting to medical discharge. Three guys from 278th are still kicking though in the RECON. They all go to Afghanistan in May or so. Good luck and Godspeed Recon.
By Pfc Adam Dean
124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Georgia National Guard
June 12, 2007 – Soldiers from 48th Brigade Combat Team’s 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition Squadron, (formerly 1st Battalion, 108th Armor) are in southwest Louisiana helping other Soldiers from around the country get the training they need for deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
With temperatures rising near the hundred-mark at Fort Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center, the Georgia Guardsmen goal is to make the humidity and foliage the only differences between this active Army post and the arid regions of war-torn Iraq.
Captain Chris Powell, who command’s Rome-based Troop A of the 108th, described his Soldiers’ mission as a role-playing exercise. Acting as Iraqi internal defense force soldiers, they are providing real-world experience to those who are about to experience in the Global War on Terror, many of them for the first time.
“The preparation they get here is important because it lets them experience the kind of obstacles and challenges they’re going to have in communicating through interpreters to Iraqi platoon leaders,” Powell explained.
During its two-weeks at Fort Polk, the 108th is teaching deploying Soldiers, like those with 101st Airborne Division, how to fight insurgents alongside their Iraqi counterparts. The knowledge they’re passing on comes from their own experiences working with the Iraqi army while deployed with the 48th from May 2005 to May 2006.
Sergeant Billy Harp said the training he and his fellow Guardsmen are providing should be a great help to those about to journey “across the pond.”
“They’re getting their feet wet in a whole new way,” said Harp, a Troop A squad leader. “What we teach them here gives them a taste of what life’s gonna be like once they get in country.”
"The new guys with the 101st, especially, are like sponges," said Spc. Michael Matlin, a Troop A team leader and Iraq veteran. “They’re really soaking up the knowledge and looking for more.”
But being at JRTC isn’t just about being the teacher for the Georgia Guardsmen. It’s also about picking up “lessons learned” from the California National Guard’s 19th Special Forces Group, which is deploying with the 101st.
“We’re doing more on the ground now that 108th has changed from the traditional armor mission to one of reconnaissance and surveillance,” Harp said. “Yeah,” said Pfc. Gabriel Human, a scout with Calhoun’s Headquarters Troop, “it’s a whole lot different since we’re now 48th Brigade’s eyes and ears on battlefield.”
The 108th began its transition from an armored battalion to a RSTA squadron not long after returning from Iraq. Most of those who were tankers are now scouts, which is a Special Forces specialty.
“We’re really learning a lot from the ‘SF guys’ about how to do our mission,” Harp said.
"They really know their stuff," said Human added, "so they know our techniques and how we can improve on what we now do."Troop A’s main body has been at JRTC for the past week. It’s scheduled to return to home later in the month. When they do return, these one-time tankers will be more knowledgeable as scouts, and they will have helped those getting ready to support the mission in Iraq be more prepared themselves.
C Troop send off link