First Brigade puts safety of soldiers in line with training

Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, perform cleaning procedures set during their day of training May 6 at Seitz Regional Training Complex at Fort Riley.

Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division can’t stop training, even during the current global health crisis. So, to continue training and keep soldiers safe, enhanced procedures have been put in place at facilities around Fort Riley.

At the Seitz Regional Training Center, soldiers use simulators called Close Combat Tactical Trainers that provide a virtual training capability which increases and sustains readiness of the units. Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., demonstrated the procedures May 6 during their day of training in the M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the M1A2 Abrams simulators.

“This is a state of the art facility that is going to give the crews everything they need in order to be lethal in their vehicle — when they actually mount up and do this on an actual range with live ammunition,” said Capt. Luke Werner, 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, soldiers are required to adhere to the social and physical distancing regulations in place on the installation.

“The troopers in the simulators are going to have personal protective equipment that allows them to not only practice physical distancing, but allows them to continue to train,” he said.

Enhanced cleaning procedures also prevent the spread of bacteria and germs from crew to crew.

“We wipe down the simulators,” Werner said. “We have increased the type of disinfectant that we’re using, so that we can get after getting the Coronavirus off of any potential surfaces.”

When it comes to protect the force from the effects of COVID-19, commanders take into consideration input they receive from the soldiers at the installation.

“Just last week, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a sifting session with our squadron commander, where he asked a few of us about what they have put in place so far, when it comes to protecting the force preventing the spread and things of that nature,” said Spc. Shaun Koserski, 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div. “We were able to give our commander our input on what we think can be improved when it comes to our work here at Fort Riley combating COVID-19.”

The Protect, Prevent, Preserve initiative on the installation helps to ensure the soldiers are ready at a moment’s notice — even during a pandemic.

“Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division has surged our mentality to preserve the force, to protect the force and to prevent the spread COVID-19,” Werner said. “With those three guiding pillars of our training we make sure that we can not only remain lethal, but remain protected and prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the division.”

Some of the initiatives in place on Fort Riley include temporary hand washing stations outside every building used, enhanced screening at each of the active access control points and limiting the number of personnel allowed to gather in formation. More information and frequently asked questions are located on the Fort Riley website, www.home.army.mil/riley. The frequently asked questions section is updated regularly with new answered based on guidance from Irwin Army Community Hospital, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Big Red One commanders.

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