NEWS | Jan. 31, 2018

Inferno Creek strengthens U.S.-Omani partnership

By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Milnes Task Force Spartan

U.S. Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division and soldiers from the 11th Omani Brigade, Royal Army of Oman, recently completed Inferno Creek, a bilateral training exercise near Rabkoot, Oman, Jan. 30, 2018. The purpose of Inferno Creek was to conduct theater security cooperation focused on combined arms training and dismounted lane training from team to platoon-sized elements.

Throughout the two-week exercise, Omani and U.S. forces worked side-by-side allowing troops to experience each other’s military tactics, as well as their cultures and customs in a training environment.
“Through each iteration of the exercise the troops are conducting bilateral training and building on their METL (mission-essential task list) skills and proficiency,” stated Capt. Jacob Risinger, the exercise control officer in charge of Inferno Creek.

Both militaries began the training in the typical “crawl, walk, run” method that builds as the exercise progresses. After several days of classroom training, both militaries walked the prescribed training route in order to familiarize all participants with the terrain and mission.
After the initial familiarization, Soldiers from the Frontier Force Battalion, 11th Omani Brigade, were placed on teams with Soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment or with scouts from the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment.

“The language barrier can be a challenge, but it’s been going smoothly,” said Sgt. William Bickel an infantryman from Charlie Co. “We’re able to collaborate and have been able to finish every task and mission handed to us.”

Both teams were given turns at going through each lane exercise scenario and role-playing the opposing force (OPFOR).
Bickel further explained how role-playing the OPFOR, gave him a better understanding of the intent and importance of exercises like Inferno Creek, by witnessing how his unit moved and communicated with the Omani Soldiers.

“You get to test them and yourself at the same time,” explained Bickel. “You’re able to see from a first-hand perspective how the unit and the Omani forces actually work together and see how all their movements are well thought-out.”

The training lanes began at a small, team-sized element of five to six Soldiers and grew with each iteration. By the culmination of Inferno Creek, the exercise was conducted with a platoon-sized element (40 to 50) leading the mission.

Outside of the rigorous military training, Risinger explained that he’s also extremely pleased about the rapport that the U.S. Soldiers and their Omani counterparts built throughout the exercise.

Spc. Cuatro Ramirez, an infantryman with Charlie Co. recounted one instance after completing squad MOUT (military operations on urban terrain) training with a squad from the 11th Omani Bde.

“They invited me to eat with them around their dinner platter. Their food was really good!” Ramirez said. “That experience is probably going to stick with me forever.”

“We’ve been able to cross train each other, not just on culture, but about movements and training,” concluded Bickel. “It’s been a really incredible opportunity.”

“Working alongside the Omanis has been a great experience,” echoed Ramirez. “I get to shoot, move, communicate with my comrades, I get to learn how they train and I’ll be able to take this experience with me in my career.”

As the exercise nears the conclusion, Risinger is confident everyone will take something from the weeks of working as one and building interoperability between Oman and U.S. forces.

“This is a great place to train and it’s been amazing watching everyone work together,” stated Risinger.