SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- The echoes of a barking dog
and children playing rang through the marketplace. Shops
advertised their fresh goods, and peculiar scents lingered
in the breeze. A group of men gathered outside a flower
shop as squads of Soldiers took up secure fighting
Sgt. Ryan Bradley called out orders to his Soldiers to
maintain their perimeter as he made contact with another
squad leader. The platoon had just secured a weapon cache
and a high-value target. The training exercise was a
Bradley, a squad leader with B Company, 1st Battalion, 27th
Infantry Regiment, "Wolfhounds," 2nd Brigade
Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, trained with the rest
of his platoon at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows on
Oahu from June 24 to June 27 marking the battalion's
first platoon-level situational training exercise.
The raid training lane tested the platoon's ability to
assault a series of objectives in an urban environment in
search of a high-value target based on simulated
intelligence disseminated during the mission briefing.
Urban environment training is a priority as the skills
required remain pertinent to current conflicts.
"We're transitioning to full-spectrum operations
so it's nice that we're able to work in an urban
environment which is a lot of what we're currently
seeing," said 1st Lt. Joseph Orton, a platoon leader
with B Co., 1-27 Inf. Regt. "It also helps to refine
our standard battle drills, in this case, a raid."
"Anywhere we deploy to, there is going to be an
element of urban warfare," Bradley added. "Coming
down here to Bellows using the town that they built gets
guys used to urban maneuver and what they can expect to see
in marketplaces. To have this resource, we can get prepared
and be effective destroying the enemy wherever we
The Wolfhounds began with team- and squad-level training
earlier this year, and have moved into tactical maneuver
with platoon-sized elements across situational training
exercises, Bradley said.
"We started at the team level, worked through at the
squad level and now we're working on platoon
missions," he said. "Today, we ran through this
scenario where we were conducting raids at the platoon
level using intelligence so we can get some of our new guys
trained and work as a platoon."
Platoon training allows Soldiers an opportunity to use
tactics learned at the team and squad level. It also serves
to strengthen cohesion and communication during operations
that require teams and squads to act as a collective
"We spent a lot of time training at the team and squad
level," Orton said. "This is the first
opportunity that we've had to train as a platoon and
show that all the operating procedures we established at
the team and squad levels are now working together at the
Bradley added that the training also helped to integrate
new Soldiers in the unit, and mutually acquaint the
Soldiers and their leadership.
"I've found that the best integration for Soldiers
is being in the field, so while we're out here, the new
guys are getting to know everybody and their NCO chain of
command," Bradley said. "It builds cohesion and
allows leaders to get to know their Soldiers a little
better and allows the Soldiers to build trust in their
For the leaders, the platoon STX provided a way to further
develop and hone their leadership methods and abilities in
"I'm fairly new to the position so it's opened
up my eyes to how things work on a larger scale and how my
duties affect the successful completion of our
mission," Bradley said.
"Working in garrison, there's a lot of paperwork
involved in what I do," Orton said. "Coming out
here and making sure I'm just as tactically proficient
with the feedback I receive from the role-players and my
squad, there's nothing like it."
Units in 2nd BCT have been using training resources at
Schofield Barracks on Oahu and the Pohakuloa Training Area
on the island of Hawaii for team- and squad-level training
this year. The Military Operations on Urban Terrain site at
Marine Corps Training Area Bellows on Oahu is an advanced
training resource the brigade can use for urban environment
The facility boasts multiple cameras atop and inside every
building to capture the action from every angle. Audio
speakers throughout the MOUT site play sounds to simulate
barking dogs and children at play. There are even smell
simulation machines that emit odors to complete the
"This resource is dedicated to training in the urban
environment," Bradley said. "There are cameras
everywhere and sound effects machines that give you an idea
of what you can expect when you deploy. It's a lot more
realistic and there are lot more elements to give you
battle-focused training to hone your skills."
All the details implemented in the construction of the
facility, from the architecture of the buildings to the
sound effects, were portrayed accurately, Bradley added. He
related the MOUT site to his deployment to Iraq.
"I deployed to Tikrit, Iraq during the last deployment
and from the building structures outside to the floor plans
inside, it's very accurate," he said.
"It's all the little things that you don't
really think about that get you into it. It brings back
some of the things I encountered when I deployed."
As Bradley and Orton departed the compound with the
high-value target in custody, the platoon prepared for
their after-action review feeling more confident in their
abilities to operate effectively in an urban environment.
Platoons across all companies in 1-27 Inf. Regt. will
continue to train at the Bellows MOUT site into the first
week of July, further preparing the battalion's
Soldiers and leaders for contingencies anywhere in the
world with realistic urban training.