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Guard Training Prepares Soldiers For Combat

June 18, 2012, 10:05 PM by Derek Olson

Guard Training Prepares Soldiers For Combat

It was more than just a walk in the woods for South Dakota guardsmen.  That's because close to 2,000 soldiers are in the Black Hills for training intended to prepare them for combat.

"It's a simulation of a patrol in either Afghanistan or Iraq where they come across a village or a town and they'll have to react to drills from the villagers," Sgt. Andrew Lowry of the Canadian 15th MP Company said.

"It gives you a real, real-world scenario of how and different ways of clearing buildings with hostile intent towards you," Sgt. Cameron Lynch of the South Dakota Army National Guard's 155th Engineer Company said.

The soldiers are using paintballs to make the exercise as realistic as possible.

Urban combat is nothing new for Lowry, who first saw action in Bosnia.  Now, he's trying to pass along lessons he's learned to the next generation.

"Most of the soldiers coming through don't have frontline experience.  So they'll come through here, we'll find out what level they're at, and from there, we'll cater the scenarios to their training," Lowry said.

"Some people are new, some people have been in.  You learn different techniques from different people and it's just a great learning experience," Lynch said.

And with the South Dakota National Guard having the third-highest deployment rate in the country, this training is even more valuable.

"Yeah, your adrenaline is moving.  You're communicating and running, you're not just kind of doing the motions.  You're going through it," Lynch said.

"From here, they can just expand on their training.  They can do it a little bit more hardcore and further on, depending on who they work with," Lowry said.

Golden Coyote involves 37 guard and reserve units from 17 states.  There are also soldiers from six-foreign countries taking part in the exercises.

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