SF Trains OPFOR
FORT MCCOY, WI - The Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) at Fort McCoy is a chance for soldiers from all over the U.S. to go through training scenarios and hone in on their warrior tasks and battle drills. In order to make the scenarios as realistic as possible, the 314th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion has brought in a Special Forces unit to help teach proper techniques to the opposition force team.
There is stillness throughout the area. The team is set. The sound of tires rolling up the road is getting louder. The anticipation builds. Boom! “Open fire!” The attack is now underway. Sgt. Alfred Regis, a wheeled vehicle mechanic recovery specialist from the 645th Transportation Company and one of the team leaders for the Opposition Force (OpFor), and his team begin their attack on the convoy of coalition forces rolling through the area.
The Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) at Fort McCoy is a chance for soldiers from all over the U.S. to go through training scenarios and hone in on their warrior tasks and battle drills.
In order to make the scenarios as realistic as possible, the 314th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion has brought in a Special Forces unit to help teach proper techniques to the OpFor teams, said Spc. Marie Rosanne Quicho, a transportation management coordinator in the 645th Transportation Company from Las Vegas, Nev.
“Normally the SF will get the mission for the following day and will disseminate down to me and I’ll take that information and let my soldiers know,” said Regis. “I have to get my team ready. The SF tells me what I need to do the following morning and I get my team ready for that.”
While the SF are at the CSTX to teach soldiers how to maneuver, the missions are still led by the team leaders.
“I ensure that all their equipment is good, their motivation level is up and they are excited about the mission,” said Regis.
A usual day for OpFor starts by waking up at 5:30 a.m. to start preparing for the mission. Depending on what the mission is, they may have to improvise necessary items.
When Regis heard the news that his team was supposed to lead an attack involving simulated RPG fire, he and his team used whatever scraps they could find, mainly tubing and duct tape, to construct dummy RPGs.
These lanes are definitely something soldiers can expect to see when they go overseas, said Regis.
We try to make the scenarios as realistic as possible, said Regis. However, with the fire ban in effect we have to focus more on vocalization.
We still have things like small arms fire with blanks, he added.
The force will depend on the lane. If it’s small arms fire, we usually just lay fire on the convoy as they pass through. It’s all mission dictating, said Regis.
The OpFor wants to make the scenarios as realistic as possible, however safety is always a factor, said Quicho.
“No physical contact is allowed on any type of mission,” said Regis.
The most physical contact OpFor will make is executing a silent kill (knife kill). In that case, the exercise’s operational commander will let the soldier know they have been killed.
The OpFor are here for the length of the exercise. Their time spent as OpFor will count as their annual training, since the unit was limited with what they could do with their jobs, said Quicho.