Signal company learns field, urban terrain skills in field-training exercise

by CPT Mark Mistal

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa – 349th Signal Company, 58th Signal Battalion, honed its tactical and urban fighting skills in a three-day field-training exercise at Landing Zone Pigeon, Camp Hansen. The training scenario involved an opposing-force platoon, 10th Soviet Light Rifle Regiment, carrying light arms and defending Area Ginoza San in the vicinity of Range 2G, Combat Town; the OPFOR tried to prevent 349th Signal Company from occupying and establishing communications sites north of Camp Hansen.

The 349th’s FTX was geared toward field-skills classes such as first aid, field sanitation, patrolling, mission-oriented protective posture gear exchange and common-task training. Company noncommissioned officers were responsible for teaching soldiers how to set up a tactical field site, and how to live and train in the field.

In addition, the unit provided leadership training and troop-leading procedures to the NCOs by having them lead their squads on a five-mile tactical road march, and to conduct several missions to clear and occupy Combat Town.

Soldiers also received instructions and demonstrations on military-operations-in-urban-terrain training from 1/1 Special Forces Group and 10th Area Support Group instructors.

"The 349th’s mission was to deploy and occupy vicinity LZ Pigeon and, on order, conduct a tactical roadmarch to Range 2G, Combat Town, to destroy forces of 10th SLRR occupying the area, and then redeploy to Torii Station," explained 1SG David Gibson.

Gibson said that upon arrival at LZ Pigeon the first morning, 349th immediately began to set up the site. The unit established the field site, to include two general-purpose medium tents, three GP small tents, five camouflage areas for classes and two M60 positions. Squads were assigned sectors of fire and individual areas for which they were responsible.

"To make it realistic training, the unit issued Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement Simulation gear and blank 5.56mm rounds to all soldiers," Gibson said. "Several senior NCOs acted as the OPFOR during MOUT training.

"During the road march, each squad had to react to a near ambush along the route," he continued. "As friendly forces, 349th’s 35 soldiers accomplished their missions and cleared, secured and established a unit defensive site at Combat Town in the unit’s area of responsibility."

At event’s end, several 349th soldiers commented on the FTX. Said PVT2 Christy Rabetoy, "You had to watch out for possible enemy (soldiers). MOUT was great, high-speed training."

PFC James Armstrong observed, "We should do this more often. I had fun and learned a lot."

And from a seasoned 349th operations NCO, "The soldiers were motivated in the field," noted SSG Robert Lennard. "They wanted to extend another two days."

According to company commander CPT Mark Mistal, "This was a great training opportunity for us to deploy as a unit and accomplish our mission of training soldiers on how to live and train in a tactical field environment."

CPT Mistal recently took command of 58th Signal Battalion’s Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.

Acronym QuickScan
FTX – field-training exercise
GP – general purpose
LZ – landing zone
MOUT – military operations in urban terrain
NCO – noncommissioned officer
OPFOR – opposing force
SLRR – (10th) Soviet Light Rifle Regiment
349th Signal Company clears building of "enemy" forces 349th Signal Company squads conduct military operations of clearing a building of suspected enemy forces at Camp Hansen's Combat Town. (Photo by SFC Charles McCombs)

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