How NTC is Changing to Meet New Mission Requirements
The temperature is about 107°F, and the sand is being kicked up by the hot wind that breezes through the area. All of a sudden we hear a sudden commotion from outside of the gate that surrounds the outside of the complex. A closer look reveals that there is a crowd outside the gate attempting to get in. They shout and yell Anti- American sentiments. A few even get behind the gates and are chased by the soldiers attempting to secure the area.
This may sound a little like what you hear about Iraq, but we're in sunny California, Fort Irwin to be specific, where the 13th COSCOM is supporting National Training Center (NTC) rotation 03-09. The self-titled Taskforce Workhorse is here to augment the Regimental Support Squadron (RSS) and provide water, food, ice, ammunition and transportation support. But, unlike in previous rotations where they train for "Force on Force" or army against army, they are learning to support our forces as well as Civilians on the Battlefield (COB) which have the possibility of being neutral or aggressive. In some scenarios how the forces interact with the civilians will have a direct reflection on how the civilians react, and whether or not they will be sympathetic or aggressive to the soldiers.
According to CPT Raphael Heflin, the officer in charge of the Taskforce Workhorse, this change in training has basis in lessons learned from recent operations around the globe. As in the case of Iraq, U.S. forces didn't encounter much heavy armor or mechanized infantry resistance, but instead continued to encounter small pockets of non-U.S. supporters that attack convoys and supply lines. He further went on to say "There are a lot of growing pains right now, but I think we will get through this and hopefully answer a lot of the questions that were indirectly posed, such as how do we logistically support COB villages and our forces simultaneously with the limited assets we have." Heflin leads a group of about 44 soldiers sent to NTC that is comprised of the 62nd QM, 4th CMMC, and the 49th MCB. They are supporting all areas of the training operation from logistics delivery to emergency service support and maintenance.