Army aiming for more realistic training, says SMA Dailey

FORT A.P. Hill, Va. (Army News Service) -- "We've got to get away from traditional training and get more realistic training like this," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey at the Best Warrior Competition Sept. 28, adding that Soldiers will face such situations from adversaries in the future. 

The event Dailey spoke about involved live fire, multiple enemy threats and casualties needing assistance. The Soldiers had to remove all threats and treat and evacuate the casualties. The event was so realistic that the dummy casualties were streaming blood and talking to the Soldiers, saying they're hurting, afraid of dying, and many other things.

As he watched during this event, Dailey, himself a combat veteran, described what was going on through the Soldiers' minds as they experience either real combat or this type of realistic training:

"A casualty is telling them they're hurting and feeling fear. With the urgency of the situation, every second that ticks by [the Soldier treating him is] thinking, 'this is taking way too long. What's the enemy situation like? What's the threat? I just killed a bunch of enemy targets right in front of me and are there more coming? I'm out here by myself. I need to get help and reinforcements. I have to get my battlefield buddy to safety quickly.'"


Spc. Joseph Broam, representing the Army National Guard, said the event just described was very stressful. "You have to think rationally, rather than letting your nerves get to you. Sometimes you've got to think through the process rather than try to think step-by-step, so you don't forget anything. Sometimes it gets the best of you. Sometimes you think you're moving too slow, sometimes slow is smooth and smooth is fast."

Some units get to do good training like this all the time but for most, it's not every day they get to practice this, he said. 

"Adding stress into training like this is good, because whenever Soldiers get into situations like this, they're not freaking out when they're looking at a Soldier that's bleeding with his arm off," Broam added.

Staff Sgt. Dirk Omerzo, also Army National Guard, called the event and the rest of the Best Warrior training "awesome."

In all his years of Army training, he said he's "never applied a tourniquet to a talking dummy with blood."

Spc. Daniel Guenther, U.S. Army Europe, described the action he took during the event:

"I moved the casualty because I heard incoming rounds. You want to engage your enemies and make sure all enemies are down before you can save him. And after that, give life-saving care and get him out of there. Then I got on the radio to call the bird out [medevac helicopter].

Staff Sgt. Andrew Crump, U.S. Army Cyber Command, said he was in Iraq, but he never before had this type of training. 

They should put this unpredictable-type training at all levels of the competitions, he advised, not just at the Department of the Army level.

Staff Sgt. Ethan Rogers, also from U.S. Army Europe, said he experienced something similar to this when one of his buddies was shot in the face in Afghanistan. "It's difficult focusing on the casualty and the targets at the same time," he said.


The Army can make training like this "realistic, challenging, as well as fun simultaneously," Dailey said during a break in the event. "That's what you want Soldiers to do, to be excited about training. 

"You want them to want to do these things," he continued. "We're not only assessing their ability to do the tasks, but their ability to think constructively on their own independently." This event and others like it give Soldiers the ability "to think on the move and to find creative solutions."

The likelihood of being alone on the battlefield -- like in this event -- is probably very unlikely, but there is always that possibility, he continued. Soldiers can get ambushed in scenarios like this, and when that happens, "you're expected to do things on your own. You never know what situation you're going to be in."


Soldiers here at Best Warrior are competing for NCO of the Year and Soldier of the Year. The results will be announced Monday, at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Sept. 28 was day three of the five-day competition. Thus far, the Soldiers have been tested at multiple shooting events, casualty treatment and evacuation, day and night land navigation, the Army Physical Fitness Test, a written essay, obstacle course and buddy run.

The Best Warrior competition organizers will not reveal who is ahead in points and what events the next two days will bring.

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