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54th Eng. Bn. conducts 'Dagger Strike' training

Apr 16, 2010

By Sgt. Fay Conroy, 21st TSC Public Affairs

BAMBERG, Germany -- The 54th Engineer Battalion spent two weeks March 31 to April 15 conducting training during an exercise here called Dagger Strike. The training, which was designed to test the engineers at the squad level, was divided into two categories - sapper training and construction.

The sapper training lane consisted of traffic control point operations, a dismounted route clearance lane and Military Operations on Urban Terrain, also known as MOUT. The construction training lane was divided into Forward Operating Base construction, combat trails and crater repair. Each squad spent a day going through each lane.

"The benefit of the training is to get the squad leaders to work with the squads and to see what level of knowledge the squad leaders have," said Sgt. 1st Class Roderick Carter, a platoon sergeant with the 535th Engineer Support Company, who watched one of his squads go through the FOB construction lane April 7.

At the FOB construction lane, the squads were required to create a traffic control point and level the ground with heavy equipment to prepare the area, while pulling security. Soldiers who were identified to pull security had to watch for enemy combatants and maintain a secure perimeter while their teammates used heavy equipment to begin construction.

"I like to get the opportunity to get out here and evaluate the junior noncommissioned officers who lead some of the younger NCOs and Soldiers," said Carter. "It's good to see the squads come out and get a chance to operate and work in an environment similar to what we do downrange."

Soldiers from the 541st Engineer Company went through the MOUT training lane as the 535th Eng. Support Co. went through the FOB construction lane. They conducted a road march from the FOB and met up with an interpreter who provided them with information on the high-value target they were seeking. In order to capture the high-value target, they were required to clear several buildings within the village area. Once they secured their target, they brought the high-value target to an extraction point for evacuation.

"This is some of the best training I have had in a long time - especially the route clearance, which is what we do downrange," said Pvt. Nicholas Brown, a combat engineer with the 541st Eng. Co.

Soldiers never really get the same effect as the real thing while training, but if they are training all the time, they are trained to look on the ground, said Brown. When the Soldiers deploy, the training will help to make it more instinctive and natural, which will ultimately help save lives.

Dagger Strike II is scheduled to be held in Grafenwoehr May 10-27. During Dagger Strike II, units will be conducting training on breeching, MOUT, grenades, route clearance and marksmanship.

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