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Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), conduct vehicle rollover training and medical trauma lanes Sept. 27 at Fort Drum, New York, in preparation for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Angel Tomko)


Catamounts conduct medical, vehicle rollover training


Maj. Angel Tomko

2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs


FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 27, 2018) – In July, the U.S. Army announced the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) would deploy to Afghanistan.

At the time of the release, the unit had recently returned from a decisive action training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Amidst shipping their equipment from Fort Polk to Fort Drum, New York, analyzing their upcoming mission to Afghanistan and preparing to ship equipment to Afghanistan, little time remained to squeeze in mission-focused training.

However, the 2nd BCT, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment “Catamounts” made it a priority to provide its Soldiers with realistic training before their upcoming departure.

“Medical and rollover training” was the given generic title, but it was anything but generic.
Catamounts arrived at the Fort Drum vehicle rollover trainer in full combat uniforms. They filed in, the doors closed, the combat lock snapped in place and the vehicle began to roll. Catamount training 1 - sm.jpg

“By incorporating the rollover training as part of a scenario that mirrored what could happen in Afghanistan, I felt like it brought a level of intensity to what could have been just a very routine training event,” said Spc. Nathaniel Cobbley, 2-87 Infantry sniper. “This level of intensity increased my confidence to turn this new skill into a muscle memory action.”

After a couple of practice rollover iterations, the lights went out. A strobe light began to flash intensely and loud sounds of gunfire, shouting and vehicle noises played in the background.

“I have done the rollover trainer before, but nothing like this,” said Staff Sgt. Brittany Banister, a 2-87 Infantry Soldier. “When they turned the lights off, turned on the strobe lights and played gunfire super loud, I was not ready. It stressed me out a little bit, but I was still able to get out. It was realistic, fun, and I feel better about what I am capable of doing.”

Soldiers had to exit the rolled vehicle, provide security for team members, and then rapidly leave the facility to a practice assisting a combat wounded patient. Soldiers provided first-responder aid to the simulated wounded patient under combat conditions. At one point, the unit simulated an inbound mortar round, and Soldiers had to protect the patient from the impending munition.

“The medical lane was the right training, because it focused on a practical application while making it as realistic as possible,” said Spc. Timothy Rhyne, a 2-87 Infantry sniper. “The smoke and darkness were added benefits that really tested me on whether or not I knew what I was taught. It was as stressful as we could make it.”

After administering treatment for wounds, four-man teams of Soldiers transported the patient on foot to a pick-up site, approximately 800 meters away. During the move, Soldiers encountered obstacles along the way simulating real-world hurdles they might come across during a combat situation. Teams had to hoist the patient over a six-foot, crawl under barbed wire and push through a tunnel, all while maintaining a secure posture.

Capt. Nathan Bennett, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, who coordinated the event, emphasized the importance of training for this particular scenario.

“Apart from ensuring we could do these tasks while stressed, I took a lesson learned from when I was a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division,” Bennett said. “I showed up to the platoon after they had just finished a fairly kinetic deployment in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011.

“One of the lessons my noncommissioned officers shared with me was the fact that, while deployed, they spent a lot of time walking through orchards and continually scaled eight-foot-high mud walls during their patrols – something that was extremely physically demanding and that they hadn’t prepared for,” he noted.

Soldiers will depart for the upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in the early winter to replace 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, of Fort Carson, Colorado.