Herald/DAVID MORRIS - Soldiers from the Florida Army National Guard’s Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, prepare their wounded for evacuation following a simulated firefight Monday at Boaz Range, a combined arms collective training facility at Fort Hood. -

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD – About 2,600 soldiers from the Florida National Guard's 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrived at Fort Hood in January for two months of mobilization training before deploying to Kuwait and Iraq.

The 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment; 1st Battalion,

153rd Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Regiment; 53rd Brigade Support Battalion; 53rd Special Troops Battalion; and Headquarters will provide security, force protection and life support operations, according to information from the Hood Mobilization Brigade and 120th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division West.

They are set to replace the 115th Fires Brigade, which is a collection of Army National Guard units from Wyoming, Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado and Alabama. Those soldiers deployed from Fort Hood in June 2009.

Soldiers from the 120th provide training for mobilized National Guard and Reserve units at North Fort Hood. That training included Monday's urban operations training exercise at Boaz Range, a combined arms collective training facility. The site is designed to look, sound and smell like Iraq.

Each company in the 53rd Infantry Brigade will go through scenarios at the facility, which replicates what they could encounter during their deployment.

Soldiers from Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, spent Monday assisting a group of "local" soldiers as they attempted to serve a warrant on known insurgents in a building at the site.

The Floridians and "local" soldiers, played by troops from the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, were attacked with bombs and small-arms fire during the scenario.

They had to manage the situation while tending to their "wounded" and dealing with the crowd of "local" civilians who watched and protested their every move.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

To read more about the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, including soldiers' opinions of Monday's urban operations training exercise, read Wednesday's Fort Hood Herald.

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