The 2nd Batallion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division is now "in the box" at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Ca. according the the 3rd HBCT's blog.
NTC is the brigade's capstone event leading up to a fall deployment to Iraq. Currently, most of the 3rd Brigade's approximately 4,000 are on the ground at Fort Irwin's desert site training their way through a month-long rotation.
From the moment the men and women of the 3rd Brigade arrived in California, they were immersed in Arabic language and culture, said Capt. Mike Barth, acting brigade officer in charge for the movement to NTC. This will pay dividends during their upcoming deployment when they are at once surrounded by foreign sites and sounds, Barth said.
The first couple of days at the training center were devoted to individual training. The real work began when the brigade moved out to an area called “the box.”
“The box is this gigantic area of land that has Arabic towns, in fact that NTC built,” Barth said. “They have Arabic names, people from all over the world that speak Arabic so that when our soldiers actually dismount or mount into those towns the first thing they see is locals, everybody speaking Arabic. They have to use their Arabic skills as well as their cultural skills that they’ve learned and then on top of that all of their tactical skills we’ve been training for for the last year.”