1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Story and photos by Spc. Andrew
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait
Soldiers learned the complex process of securing and evacuating
U.S. citizens and employees
from American compounds in hostile nations, during the Raider Response exercise at Udairi Range, Kuwait, June 13-14.
After loading into UH-60 Black
Hawk helicopters under the cover of darkness, the 1st
Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment,
"Regulars," 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, augmented by additional elements of the
"Raider" Brigade, flew to a simulated U.S. compound at the desert range, where they quickly established a security perimeter
and began processing personnel for evacuation.
"The mission that the Army
requires of the Regulars is very complex," said Command
Sgt. Maj. Timothy Edwards,
senior enlisted leader, 1st Bn., 22nd Inf. Reg. "This training is important so our Soldiers clearly understand these complexities,
and how to properly execute a noncombatant evacuation operation while in hostile environments and under extreme stress.
Innocent civilians' lives could depend on them, and that is not something we take lightly."
In addition to gaining a new
skill set, the Regulars also learned the
importance of flexibility and comfort in a variety of situations,
said Edwards. "We must be a very adaptable organization and be able to operate in any operational environment,
regardless of the mission given," he said.
As the Regulars
processed "civilian employees" for evacuation,
simulated indirect fire "wounded" Soldiers and
as role-players dressed as local nationals rioted at the compound's gates.
Reacting to multiple threats
throughout the night added an air of importance and purpose to
said Spc. Joshua Caulder, infantryman, Company B.
"I've never done training
like this before, so it's a good chunk of knowledge to add to my
arsenal" Caulder said.
"Evacuating civilians can be a complicated process. Maintaining accountability for civilian personnel, in-processing them
for flights, and keeping an eye out for possible enemy activity all at the same time is complex. I'm glad we are taking the time
to learn how to do all this properly."
With the compound secure and
noncombatants processed, the Regulars called the Black Hawks back
in, loaded the civilians
on the first set of helicopters, and then took to the skies themselves and returned to Camp Buehring.
1st Lt. Martin Harris, platoon leader (3rd Platoon), Company B, said he valued the knowledge gained during Raider Response.
"As American Soldiers, we
will always care about the welfare of our countrymen," Harris
said. "As a regional security force,
we have to be prepared for situations like the one we encountered tonight. Keeping our citizens calm, getting them organized
and getting them safely out of a dangerous situation is one of the most important jobs we can do as Soldiers, and I am excited
that we have the opportunity to learn about these procedures."
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