By Spc. Terence Ewings

4th Brigade Combat Team

public affairs

Soldiers assigned to Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, tested their cordon and search skills at a military operations on urban terrain (MOUT) training site April 10 at Fort Hood.

The soldiers trained in this realistic urban environment during the brigade's field training exercise to prepare them for their future deployment to Iraq.

"You can only learn so much in a classroom and basic training environment," said Staff Sgt. Michael Blake. "For us to get out here and simulate missions we do in Iraq it's key, because you learn more stuff going through the (repetitions) than you do sitting down and having someone talking to you."

During the MOUT scenario, soldiers were searching the area for possible weapons caches and insurgents hiding in the area.

The troops followed the lead of their senior enlisted personnel and began to establish positive relations with the local nationals while conducting the exercise.

"Teaching them how to take charge and be in charge is very important," said Blake, who is preparing for his fourth deployment.

"Our junior enlisted soldiers who have already deployed are very enthusiastic about teaching the new troops and showing them how to do their job."

One of Blake's veteran soldiers, Spc. Zach Wright, assisted him in readying these troops for their "advise and assist" mission in the combat theater, Blake said.

"I feel good about this training, you learn and grow from watching other noncommissioned officers," said Wright, who is gearing up for his second deployment to Iraq.

"We apply what we have learned and seen to help teach the new guys we have joining the unit, and when they get new troops coming in, they can help those soldiers train."

After the completion of the brigade's field training exercise, the soldiers will begin preparing for the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., before their deployment this fall.

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