By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Milnes, Task Force Spartan:
(El Paso, Texas, Feb. 8, 2018)
RABKOOT, Oman – Soldiers assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division and soldiers assigned to the 11th Omani Brigade, Royal Army of Oman, completed Inferno Creek 18, a bilateral training exercise near Rabkoot, Oman, Jan. 30.
The purpose of the exercise was to conduct theater security cooperation focused on combined arms training and dismounted lane training from team to platoon-sized elements.
Throughout the two-week exercise, Omani and U.S. forces worked side-by-side allowing troops to experience each other’s military tactics, as well as their cultures and customs in a training environment. The country, slightly smaller than the state of Kansas, is located on the Arabian Peninsula, east of Saudi Arabia and south of the United Arab Emirates and is home to about 3.4 million people.
“Through each iteration of the exercise, the troops are conducting bilateral training and building on their METL (mission-essential task list) skills and proficiency,” said Capt. Jacob Risinger, the exercise control officer in charge of Inferno Creek.
Both militaries began the training in the typical “crawl, walk, run” method that builds as the exercise progresses. After several days of classroom training, both militaries walked the prescribed training route to familiarize all participants with the terrain and mission.
After the initial familiarization, Soldiers from the Frontier Force Battalion, 11th Omani Brigade, were placed on teams with Soldiers assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 2nd BCT, 1st AD, or with scouts assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 1st AD.
“The language barrier can be a challenge, but it’s been going smoothly,” said Sgt. William Bickel an infantryman assigned to Co. C. “We’re able to collaborate and have been able to finish every task and mission handed to us.”
Both teams received turns at going through each
lane exercise scenario and roleplaying the opposing force.
Bickel further explained how roleplaying the OPFOR gave him a better understanding of the intent and importance of exercises such as Inferno Creek, by witnessing how his unit moved and communicated with the
“You get to test them and yourself at the same time,” Bickel said. “You’re able to see from a firsthand perspective how the unit and the Omani forces actually work together and see how all their movements are well thought out.”
The training lanes began at a small, team-sized element of five to six Soldiers and grew with each iteration. By the culmination of Inferno Creek, the exercise was conducted with a platoon-sized element (40 to 50) leading the mission.
Outside of the rigorous military training, Risinger said he is extremely pleased about the rapport the Soldiers and their Omani counterparts built throughout the exercise.
Spc. Cuatro Ramirez, an infantryman with Co. C, recounted one instance after completing squad MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) training with a squad from the 11th Omani Bde.
“They invited me to eat with them around their dinner platter. Their food was really good,” Ramirez said. “That experience is probably going to stick with me forever.”
Bickel called the experience and incredible opportunity.
“We’ve been able to cross train each other, not just on culture, but about movements and training,” Bickel said.
“Working alongside the Omanis has been a great experience,” Ramirez said. “I get to shoot, move, communicate with my comrades, I get to learn how they train and I’ll be able to take this experience with me in my career.”
As the exercise neared the conclusion, Risinger said he was confident everyone will take something from the weeks of working as one and building interoperability between Oman and U.S. forces.
“This is a great place to train and it’s been amazing watching everyone work together,” Risinger said.