Danes join South Dakota Guard in urban assault - KOTA Territory News

Danes join South Dakota Guard in urban assault

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A squad of combat engineers groups up before they begin an assault on a building during Golden Coyote.  (photo by Jack Siebold) A squad of combat engineers groups up before they begin an assault on a building during Golden Coyote. (photo by Jack Siebold)
Three soldiers, two Americans and a Danish, all combat engineers, approach an urban area during a training exercise Thursday.  (photo by Jack Siebold) Three soldiers, two Americans and a Danish, all combat engineers, approach an urban area during a training exercise Thursday. (photo by Jack Siebold)
Two squads carefully edge their way into position to attack opposing forces during an urban assault exercise.  (photo by Jack Siebold) Two squads carefully edge their way into position to attack opposing forces during an urban assault exercise. (photo by Jack Siebold)

Military operations with allies can be difficult … cultural differences, unfamiliar combat techniques and then there is the language.  That's where joint training is critical, breaking down those barriers before the reality of combat.

Thursday, American soldiers from the 155th Engineers were joined by their Danish counterparts (combat engineers with the 2nd Mechanized Engineer Company) in an urban assault exercise, one of several scenarios soldiers go through in the Golden Coyote training exercise in the Black Hills now through June 22.

The unit, split into squads, had the task of clearing a group of buildings held by enemy forces.  It is a familiar drill to both country's soldiers but not one they have worked together.  "We have done this many times but it is always cool to work with the Americans, see how they do it, see what we can learn, see if they can learn something from us," Danish soldier Jonas Johansen said.

There are differences that Johansen says you just have to overlook if you want a joint-national mission to succeed.  "Just have to have an open mind, be ready to cooperate and accept the differences between us."

For Staff Sgt. Tiphany Dvorak of Wagner, the joint exercises help her become more comfortable not only as an individual soldier but also as a leader.  "It helps build your confidence and build your team's confidence in you," she said.  "It is really important to practice, practice, practice."

Of course, that constant drilling, no matter how important, can get a little tedious.  "Sometimes it does," Dvorak admits.  "But that's why we come out here and do different scenarios.  This is a great training site and we enjoy coming out here."

There are eight training scenarios the 3,500 soldiers will experience in Golden Coyote.  These include mounted (convoy) and unmounted (foot) patrols as well as the urban assault.

When it comes to training for convoys, units are tested on countering IEDs (improvised explosive devices) during the day and also at night.  But not all convoy training is on the road.  Sometimes, soldiers need to hit the virtual battlefield.  The Guard has two Virtual Convoy Trainer systems (training soldiers on convoy driving and combat); as well as two Humvee Egress simulators (designed to teach soldiers how to safely get out of an overturned vehicle).

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