FORT POLK, La. — Soldiers with Delta Company, 1st “Mustangs” Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted dismounted patrol operations training at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., May 8 in preparation for their scheduled deployment to Afghanistan.

For more than five hours, soldiers took part in patrol operations including: dismounted patrols, convoys, key leader engagements and improvised explosive device detection.

“We are preparing for scenarios that we could face while deployed,” said 2nd Lt. Hector Mendez, a convoy commander with the company. “Improving our knowledge now will prepare us for what lies ahead.”

Successful training comes from utilizing varied resources, he added. Resources during the training included robotics and military working dogs.

Those resources added realism to an exercise, which enhances the overall learning experience.

“It’s probably the most realistic training you can get,” said Pfc. Max Farr, cavalry scout with the company. “It opens your eyes to a real life battlefield experience.”

Farr said realistic training includes setbacks a soldier might encounter in preparation for, or during a real mission.

“We had some challenges during the patrol, such as weapons malfunctions,” Farr said. “We overcame those challenges and are pretty confident we succeeded in our tasks.”

Overall, the variety of events during the patrol was a positive learning experience and one that will help the Mustangs during deployments, Mendez said.

“Making right decisions through all the chaos of a training event, stepping back to assess our faults, is exactly the challenge we need to succeed,” Mendez said. “(Mustang soldiers) learned a lot today, which will help minimize mistakes in the future.”

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