Updated 09/22/2011 08:39 PM
Joint training on Fort Drum
For the first time ever, three branches of the armed forces are joining together to better prepare for overseas deployments. Our Amanda Kelley reports.
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- It's a training operation never before done on Fort Drum.
"Most will never get that experience. Even if they go to a highly expensive deployment for it," said Lt. Col. Fred Tomaselli, Range Commander, NY Air National Guard.
A joint live fire training brought together Marines, Air Force and Army troops for a convoy training operation. Service members say it's a tough task when communication may not always be so clear.
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 Lt. Col. Paul Fagen said, "It's really big about talking to army folks or talking to air force folds. Although we all speak English, sometimes in the heat of the battle when the bullets are flying and everybody gets excited you'd think that some body's speaking Greek. "
Commander Tomaselli said, "It's a huge language barriers in reality between the services."
Troops talking throughout the mission must understand each branch's jargon to be successful, while Cobra and Huey helicopter pilots are learning to deal with different terrain.
Lt. Col. Fagen said "It's a lot of different topography that what we're normally doing. When you go over, Iraq was fairly simple in the fact that it was wide open desert. And then you've got Afghanistan with these trees and mountains and a lot of different topography than we usually get on the west coast."
Throughout the high pressure training many involved say it's a job they love to do.
Lt. Col. Fagen said, "People get excited on the radios, we're like a bunch of kids. I mean it's almost like you're 22-years-old again and you get to blow stuff up for a living and it's really about as cool as you can get."
And a training mission they're glad to tackle here at home before deployment.
7th Engineers Battalion Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Freitas said, "If we do have to utilize it, it's something that we've already trained and we already practiced it and we already know step by step exactly how to do it."
These training exercises are also difficult to organize because there isn't a joint fund to support the operation.