On 5 February, the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division (5/2 SBCT) began their harshest assignment yet. Formed a mere two years ago, the Stryker Brigade had been directed to travel 1,200 miles into the desert and engage in multiple battles. The 5/2 SBCT was not trekking through the mountains of Afghanistan or across Iraq, however. They were part of a mission rehearsal exercise at the Army’s National Training Center (NTC) in the Mojave Desert.

The final step before being deployed, a mission rehearsal exercise gives soldiers the chance to experience battle conditions while working with equipment they will be using in the field. Working with foreign police, politicians and civilians in staged villages, soldiers become familiarised with surroundings similar to those they will face while on duty. Mock insurgent attacks also prepare personnel to handle the damages that can occur in combat, such as loss of manpower.

Through the use of a Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), the Army is able to imitate various weapon systems and their effects on different types of equipment as well.

During the exercise held at the NTC, the 5/2 SCBT needed to complete several tasks designed to test their tactical, logistics and medical abilities. With the establishment of command and control crucial on the battlefield, one such task was to erect and strike command posts at multiple locations.

Utilising DRASH TMSS systems, the brigade proved capable of their mission. By offering shelter, power and heating, the systems allowed the Stryker Brigade to deploy whenever needed, even after sunset.

“An hour into the operation there was no natural light, and they were able to continue to deploy because everything was part of one complete package,” observes DRASH business representative Jose Rangel who, along with Fort Lewis regional support facility manager Hoyle Hodges, provided assistance during the event. “They were able to power some lights with generators and continue to work.”

With a durable and user-friendly design, the DRASH TMSS systems demonstrated the sophisticated shelter technology now available to today’s military.

“There was a time when you would need at least 30 people to put a shelter up,” explains Rangel. “The rehearsal exercise proved that our equipment can be deployed quickly and, once set up, withstand any conditions you’re facing.”

Having completed training, the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division will deploy to Afghanistan later this year.