HAWTHORNE, Nev. – The Desert Eagles from 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), took advantage of the high desert terrain at Hawthorne Army Depot to conduct pre-mission training over the past four weeks in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
The range facilities, austere terrain and the proximity to other military training bases, such as Fort Irwin, Calif., makes Hawthorne, Nev., an outstanding training venue.
Special Forces Soldiers are experts in unconventional warfare and advising counterinsurgency forces of friendly foreign militaries.
“Our Soldiers continually train for our advise, assist, and train mission,” said the commander of the Desert Eagles. “Coming to a place like Hawthorne allows the battalion to focus on refining the skills necessary to conduct this mission in an environment that is as close to Afghanistan as you can get.”
“The patriotism and support of the local community is very inviting and we hope to come back soon,” said the command sergeant major of the Desert Eagles.
Special Forces Soldiers have spent many long days training on U.S. and foreign small arms, crew served weapons, demolitions, trauma medicine, communications and mission planning utilizing the depot’s ranges and facilities. They also spent some of their time in the classroom, learning tactics, and before heading out into the high desert to apply what they learned.
They refined their tactics, techniques and procedures using mounted and dismounted live fire exercises, improvised explosive device lanes, advanced cross country driving courses and urban combat facilities. All of these skills will be tested again in combat.
“It’s very common to encounter multiple threats on a single mission,” said a Special Forces captain, referring to real life encounters on deployments. “So it’s necessary to incorporate that kind of stress into our training,” he added, noting the realistic approach to the training scenarios at Hawthorne.
The training often involves role-players to act as local villagers friendly to the Special Forces Soldiers and as enemy forces to add realism to the scenarios. This tough, realistic training does involve a level of risk to both the Soldiers and role players. Such was the case when one of the role-players fell down a hill, and displaced his hip. Special Forces medics participating in the training quickly stabilized the patient while the detachment called in the Fallon-based Search and Recue team to air transport him to a hospital in Reno where he is recovering.
"Our guys have all been training pretty hard for the past year,” said a detachment commander. “Coming out here has given us the opportunity to focus on what we have worked on and train in the same types of weather and terrain that we will see overseas. We have been able to put everything together and validate the techniques that we have practiced as well as learn a lot about ourselves."