What does IYACYAS mean ?
Among other things: AirCav
With some Action
Or maybe Adventure
Using lots of Ammo
And some Aviation
The full Background
Could be Cavalry
Probably in Combat
On these DVDs
There is Equipment
Which might be FUBAR
Of course, Guns Guns Guns
There is History
There are Helicopters
There are many Legends
About Mini-guns & MLRS
And Night Vision
In a Quadrant
During a Recon - Report
Perhaps being Safe or SNAFU
There are Uniforms
Resulting in Victory
The Mission might be to Verify
Utilizing Whiskey or Willy Pete
One of the requirements for NTC is to have Observer Controllers. These soldiers serve to monitor all the activities and provide guidance to participating units as well as ensure safety measures are being carefully followed. Flight Augmentees serve to assist the OCs by riding along on flights, giving position reports and helping with safety.
This account is provided by a Flight Aug on Rotation 2000-09.
Over 8,000 soldiers from the Army National Guard will remember July 2000 at Fort Irwin, California as a significant and challenging experience. With temperatures routinely soaring above 100 degrees in the desert training area, the units that attended the simulated land warfare were battling both the enemy and the environment, simultaneously. The ten day scenario pushed all participants to their limits and beyond. The key objective was an opportunity to learn what might be expected in the future if Guard members are actually called into action for a real war. When the National Guard Bureau funded the units to participate for the NTC rotation 00-09, the intent was to provide realistic training at the highest level. Although the history at NTC has seen many victories for the Opposing Forces (Opfor), the one method to ensure success was to send units to participate on both sides, Blue Forces (Blufor) and Opfor. The primary organization to assume the Blufor role was the Palmetto State Task Force from South Carolina. Their call sign for the operation was Dragonslayer. That would be appropriate. Some of the units assembled were:
The Opfor were pleased to have the 1/116th Infantry VAARNG join them. It should be noted that this was the same unit that was among the first of National Guard soldiers to be deployed to Bosnia back in 1995.
Coordinating a rotation that runs safely also requires NGB to furnish personnel for serving as Observer-Controllers (OCs). The casting call for this unusual assignment brought in soldiers from almost every state. Most of those serving in the OC role were identified early to attend, and graduate from, the OC academy conducted at Fort Irwin before the July 2000 rotation. Other personnel were brought in during the final stages to serves as OC augmentees. The following account is provided by CW4 Robert Weber of the 1st Squadron 158th Cavalry, MDARNG, who served as an OC Flight Augmentee.
"My first encounter with NTC was when I arrived at the Ontario, California airport. While I was picking up my gear at the baggage claim area, a sergeant wearing BDUs came up to me and asked if I needed a ride to Fort Irwin. He must have noticed my rucksack. He put me on a chartered bus along with about 30 other soldiers from South Carolina. The two hour drive gave us some visual clues as to the rugged terrain and harsh desert environment. When we got off the air conditioned bus at Fort Irwin, we immediately became aware of the intense heat and bright sun. Our group and others like us were then promptly in-briefed on our upcoming mission. After that, we loaded onto a 2 1/2 ton truck and were driven out to the middle of the desert. Tents were already set up and a dinner meal was served. Everyone else in the group went off to link up with their own assigned units while I stood there looking around and bewildered. Within a few minutes I found CW5 David Redden of the NCARNG. He then took me back to the main post at Fort Irwin and got me situated in Distinguished Visitors Quarters. I was thoroughly confused, but he assured me that I would understand my role the next morning when I would be reporting to the Eagle Team Operations Building."
"At 0700 I was waiting on the door step of Eagle Operations. SGM Krum arrived shortly thereafter and began my in-processing. There were two other Warrant Officers, two Lieutenants and a Captain in my group. Our main job was to fly along with the UH-60 Blackhawk crews and CH-47 Chinook crews to make position reports and inform the pilots when they were simulated as being shot down. The next few days were spent drawing equipment and receiving briefings. During this period, the crews, such as the ones I rode with on the bus, were being acclimatized. This meant they were living in the desert, while we augmentees were living in barracks on main post."
"On Day 1 of the war game scenario, we joined up with the units in the desert as they repositioned from an area called, Big Sandy to new tactical location. This process essentially meant that everyone would breathe several pounds of dust and dirt as a convoy traversed the harsh desert for about 30 miles. As we arrived at our final destination, the units began to set up tents and camouflage while we augmentees found a ditch to call home. Part of the requirements for augmentees is to stay out of sight of the player units. That meant sharing a terrain feature known as a wadi. Our closest neighbors were the other creatures indigenous to the desert. We lived with bats, lizards, coyotes and a black widow spider. We stayed in touch with other OCs via a special radio and were expected to be ready for flights on a moments notice."
"During the next few days, we took turns flying on missions. One of my first flights was involved with inserting infantry troops on the ground to perform reconnaissance. After several hours of flight time, the air crew discovered Opfor also living in a ditch and our aircraft came under simulated fire. We dropped off the infantry troops near the enemy location to engage the Opfor and the action became very intense for a few minutes. Part of the job for OCs and Augmentees is to assist with real world medical casualties. As it turned out, one member of the infantry team suffered from the heat and we had to transport him to a location where he could receive treatment. If it were not for that situation, our aircraft surely would have been shot down. We then had to pick up the remaining infantry after their battle was over and take them out of the hot sun so that they would not suffer a similar fate."
"There were other routine flights, such as hauling sling loads on the CH-47, but the most vivid memories are of those occasions where when our aircraft came under blazing fire from the enemy. Even though all the weapons were shooting blanks and the simulated engagements were recorded on MILES equipment, the effects of sound and smoke being shot at our helicopter reminded me of a much earlier time in my military career when I was flying in Vietnam. The NTC definitely provides a realistic feeling for taking fire. It is probably the safest way to experience that particular aspect of war. On another flight later in the week, we also encountered a similar situation where our aircraft was attacked at the very same time as we were helping with a real world medical emergency. Our mission was to pick up a Colt Team who had been inserted on a rugged mountain top. When we arrived, one member of the team appeared to be incapacitated from the heat and lack of water. As we called to coordinate Medevac support, our aircraft came under intense fire. Once again, had it not been for the higher priority of saving a soldiers life in real world terms, our aircraft might have been shot down in the simulated scenario."
"The missions continued and the Operations tempo (Optempo) increased throughout the exercise. We shot back at the Opfor and they returned fire. The final result was a total victory primarily because no one was seriously injured and there was no significant damage to equipment. The rotation had been successful in allowing the soldiers and their units to gain valuable experience. I went back to the Ontario airport ater the exercise and got on a commercial flight home while the player units managed to make their way back to home station and subsequent release. The desert is still there and is hot as ever. NTC at Fort Irwin is waiting for the next rotation. Before the units headed home, however, there were comprehensive After Action Reports (AARs). Units are also provided with video tapes, which document their training activities. The National Guard units that participated in NTC rotation 2000-09 will reap the benefits of the total experience for many years to come. Stories will be told and guidance will be shared to help prepare others for the next rotation scheduled at NTC".
The Flight Augmentees were a diverse group of aviators providing different perspectives on the NTC mission.
CPT Slattery, ALARNG, was former Special Operations developer of systems as test pilot in the CH-47. He is currently a commander of an HHC.
1LT Edquid, VTARNG, high energy downhill skier and pro football player.
1LT Roughneen, NJARNG, graduate student and soon to become a UH-60 pilot.
CW4 Handel, IDARNG, AH-64 pilot looking ahead to a Bosnian deployment.
CW3 Gross, ALARNG, Fort Rucker IP with 17,000 flight hours and a great big smile.
It always comes down to the individuals. In this case, there was experience, energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to make a positive impact on Army training evident within each member participating.
At NTC, soldiers learn to survive, adapt and endure.
Old lessons from ancient Cavalry still hold true.
This site is dedicated to all those who serve in the military, and by serving have become
familiar with the special jargon that is so often used by combat veterans the world over.
This site has been an attempt to educate those of you not schooled in military parlance,
so if you still do not understand what IYACYAS means, then here is a very simple clue:
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