FORT BENNING, Ga. — Soldiers with the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade put their advisor team skills in action during a culminating event during military operations on urban terrain training at Lee Field Oct. 23 on Fort Benning, Georgia.
The event involved a scenario where a village was attacked by enemy forces. It was the job of the 1st SFAB Soldiers to advise the simulated locals and Afghan National Army on the best way to take back their compound, said Chris Carter, operational environment lead at the MOUT site.
Carter said the event was a new lane developed specifically for the SFAB by the role players and the C Troop, 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 1st SFAB commander, Maj. Jason Moncuse, to train the 1st SFAB Soldiers for future missions.
“Whatever we’re asked to do; however they decide to employ us; wherever we’re asked to deploy to; that’s the type of job we’ll be doing – we’ll be advising,” Moncuse said.
Carter said every 1st SFAB team handled the situation differently, but no team was wrong in their execution of how best to advise the foreign national forces in regaining control of the compound.
This was really the first chance these Soldiers have had to practice advising, which will be their primary role when the 1st SFAB gets to carry out their mission overseas, Moncuse said.
Soldiers with 1-38 Cav. Regt., 1st SFAB, completed the Military Advisor Training Academy and worked on distribution of duties and responsibilities of the advisor teams before reaching their objective at Lee Field, where they regained the trust of villagers and met with a village elder to advise and assist his people, said Moncuse.
Through the MATA course, the Soldiers learned cultural norms, how to work with a linguist, and force protection measures Soldiers can use while conducting missions in the village, Carter said.
“This is as close as we can replicate from what they will see in theater,” said Donald Flinn, a role player at Lee Field.
The 1st SFAB Soldiers also conducted short-range marksmanship training, trained on how to advise counterparts, how to clear a building, and became familiarized with new equipment they’ve been issued.
Moncuse said that the deployments they’ll see will be different from ones they’ve done in the past because the U.S. Forces will not be in the lead, but instead the foreign armies will be in the lead.
“We (will be) here only to advise them when they need our assistance,” Moncuse said. “We’re really helping them to become self-sufficient; we’re trying to work ourselves out of a job.”
As a result of the advice from U.S. Soldiers, the goal is that allied partners improve their ability to plan and conduct operations and help support regional security.
“Any type of (partner we advise), wherever we’re asked to go, we will go in, we will advise them with that hope that eventually they won’t need our support anymore – they’ll conduct independent operations,” Moncuse said.
Capt. Christopher Hawkins, operations advisor with 1-38 Cav. Regt., 1st SFAB, said the training applied everything they had experienced in the MATA course.
“We were a little prepared; I was surprised to find out how much we still need to work on,” Hawkins said. “Overall, it was a great training event.”
The 1st SFAB team is going to grow soon, Moncuse said, and once it grows they will have to be able to identify which Soldiers are able to assume certain responsibilities in these situations. The MOUT training was meant to expose the Soldiers to a scenario and familiarize them prior to encountering the situation in real world situation.
“Just like anything, you don’t want to walk into a scenario that you are not prepared for,” Moncuse said. “Obviously we can’t give them every scenario, but at least we can help now build that confidence knowing that if they are in these austere conditions, that they’ll know how to operate and they’ll have that confidence in their training and the equipment that they can go ahead and accomplish the mission.”
The 1st SFAB is the first brigade purposefully built to help combatant commanders accomplish theater security objectives by training, advising, assisting, accompanying and enabling allied and partnered indigenous security forces. Soldiers interested in joining SFAB should contact their branch manager.