raining rotations at the Joint Readiness TrainingCenter (JRTC), Fort Polk,La., prepare brigade com-bat teams (BCTs) for de-ployment to Iraq andAfghanistan. JRTC employs arange of technologies and sensoryenhancements along with hun-dreds of cultural role-players andits opposing force, the 1st Battalion(Airborne), 509th Infantry Regi-ment, to replicate as much as possi-ble the environments and situa-tions that soldiers will face.Last summer, the 4th BrigadeCombat Team (Stryker), 2nd Infan-
try Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash.,
came to JRTC for a mission re-hearsal exercise before deployingto Iraq—its brigade-level collectivetraining event before combat. TheBCT’svehicles and much of itsequipment went directly from FortPolk to the port in Beaumont,Texas, for overseas shipment.Following are remarks from fivesergeants major regarding JRTCand the training from the view-points of those who provided thetraining and those who received it.Boasting approximately 125 yearsof collective experience, they alsotalked about being noncommis-sioned officers in the U.S. Army.
Photographs and InterviewsBy Dennis Steele
Senior Staff Writer
Afireball erupts from a junked car as an element of the special effects employed by the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC),Fort Polk,La.,to provide realistic training for Army brigade combat teams (BCTs) preparing for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.