Fort Hood land may be next to the Hill Country, but it is not mountainous. That doesn’t stop the 479th Field Artillery Brigade from providing mountainous operations training to deploying units.
The brigade provides training, readiness oversight and mobilization support to mobilized Army National Guard and Army Reserve units and active-duty forces of all services.
Operating in a mountainous region can create many challenges for leaders and soldiers with little or no experience in rugged, high-altitude environments.
The mountainous operations class taught by the Warrior Training Platoon of the 479th’s 1st Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment, provides deploying soldiers with a basic understanding of these challenges and ways to mitigate the risks associated with them.
The daylong instruction combines classroom lecture with hands-on practical training so soldiers can practice tasks associated with operating in a mountainous environment. The class includes mountain classification, climate and weather characteristics and effects on personnel.
“Learning about mountainous operations is a key piece to learning how to function properly as a soldier in some of the toughest terrain the modern military has ever faced,” said Staff Sgt. Lucas Bartz, an observer controller/trainer with the battalion’s Army Warrior Task Team.
“Because of the typical training cycle that some Guard and Reserve units go through in a standard year, there is not always enough time prior to coming to Fort Hood to hit the detail necessary to make this type of training truly effective.”
During the last six months, the Warrior Training Platoon has trained more than 625 soldiers preparing for deployments to Afghanistan and other mountainous regions around the world.
The mountainous operations class provides a basic foundation leaders can use to prepare their soldiers and adjust their tactics, techniques and standard operating procedures to be successful.
“This makes our jobs as observer controller/trainers vital to the overall mission, as each of the units prepares to head overseas to countries such as Afghanistan and Somalia,” Bartz said.
Executing a successful medical evacuation in mountainous terrain requires a complete understanding and appreciation for the weather, altitude, wind and pickup location.
“When units leave Fort Hood after training, you can rest assured that they are tactically and technically proficient,” said Master Sgt. William Henderson, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Army Warrior Tasks Team. “The Warrior Training Platoon trains these soldiers as if they were their own sons and daughters going to war.”