Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conducted a combined arms live-fire exercise, or CALFEX, here, Sept. 3, as part of Operation Wolfhound Maul.
The exercise combined a platoon-sized element with Strykers and a Mobile Gun System among other company and battalion level assets.
The intent was to give Soldiers experience working in a full-spectrum battlefield that closely simulated real-world combat environments.
"The CALFEX was definitely full-spec operations training at its best," said Pfc. Robert Best, an infantryman with C Company, 1-27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
"The chance that the Soldiers have had to see and experience what full-spectrum operations really means has been really exciting," said 1st Lt. Casey Bell, platoon leader for 1st Platoon, Company, 1-27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. "They have a better idea of how the part they play in a mission can influence every other element on the battle field."
"It really opened our eyes," said Best, "realizing that the assault force was just a small part of the full mission."
Training in the climate and terrain of Korea has been an enlightening experience for the Soldiers. They have gained critical experience in dealing with the conditions in the Pacific.
"The weather here has played a huge factor in the training," said Best. "We're here during the monsoon season so we've had some pretty rough conditions to contend with. It's valuable though, because we've trained on both sides of the spectrum."
"The climate played a large part in our training," said Bell. "When we first arrived a 500-meter movement was getting the Soldiers tired. It has given them a unique perspective as to what it will take to fight in the Pacific."
The opportunities afforded by training in Korea, specifically at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, have been enormous for the unit.
"We're training in the terrain we could be fighting in," said Bell.
"The opportunity that we've had to do the live-fire exercise here in Korea, especially the full-spectrum missions incorporating Strykers and other assets, gave us a real sense of what a war-time operation could be like," said Best.
"It would be a lot tougher to fight in the Pacific than what we've been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Bell.
One of the key objectives of training in Korea has been to simulate actual combat as closely as possible.
"We're not treating this as training," said Bell. "We're trying to simulate a real combat mission and execute as though this were real combat."
The tough, realistic training being conducted here has enabled the unit to refine existing standard operating procedures as well as develop new ones.
"The training has been invaluable," said Bell. "We've been able to enhance a lot of our [standard operating procedures] and even develop some new ones. When we return to Hawaii, we are going to have a very solid foundation to build upon."
"My capabilities as a Soldier have increased 100 percent," said Best. "I feel as though I could teach everything I've learned to do. It definitely reflects the dedication of our noncommissioned officers and officers to teaching us how to be good Soldiers."
That dedication from leadership is paying off. The Soldiers are confident and the leaders are prepared. The Wolfhounds are prepared for combat.
"I have eight new Soldiers that have arrived in the last few weeks," said Bell. "These guys have gone from moving as a fire team to a platoon CALFEX. After seeing their performance tonight, I would have no problems taking these guys into combat. They are ready to go."
The training being conducted in Korea has had a direct impact on the unit's abilities and confidence in conducting future contingency operations and ensuring the security of interests in the Pacific and around the world.
"We thought we were ready for combat when we arrived here," said Bell. "After this training, I know we are ready for combat."
Article by Sgt. Daniel K. Johnson, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs