Soldiers Train for War

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Soldiers preparing to deploy to Afghanistan learn how to react in a battle zone.

Before they leave, members of the 1039th Engineer Company of the 875the Engineer Battalion train for the unexpected at Fort Chaffee.

A training facility at Fort Chaffee replicates a town in Afghanistan giving soldiers hands on experience and allows them to learn what to expect before they deploy.

For some, like Specialist Timothy Lemon, it'll be their first tour fighting in Afghanistan, so practice is critical.

“Doing a good job, and come back home safe,” said Spc. Lemon.

Convoys drove routes through the practice towns as soldiers were faced with every possible scenario including surprise attacks.

"Everything is running through your mind,” said Lt. Lucas Jennings. “You're looking at everything going around. It's a pretty good rush."

Their mission Monday was to search for improvised explosive devices while clearing roads.

"You anticipate a lot, you know, but you never know exactly what's going to happen until you get over there and stuff starts going off," said Spc. Joe Bateman.

Soldiers say learning how to communicate on the battlefield is critical as they fight and defend. After each practice round, they learn how to improve.

"You can't be prepared for everything, but these guys are doing their best to make us as prepared as we can be," said Spc. Bateman.

Military officials say a new and bigger training facility replicating Afghanistan is expected to be constructed at Fort Chaffee next year. It’s a more than 20 million dollar project with thirty buildings, according to Lt. Col. Keith Moore. He says the facility will give soldiers a better idea of what to expect when they deploy.

Around 100 soldiers from the Arkansas National Guard will deploy to Afghanistan by the end of the summer, according to Lt. Col. Moore.