Fort Riley troops train through the heat

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FORT RILEY (KSNT) – The troops at Fort Riley never stop training.

Even in the blazing Kansas heat and humidity.

On Thursday, soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, wrapped up a pair of intense days of training.

The troops were focused on urban warfare, which Lt. Col. Andy Sanchez said is a style of combat troops see more and more when deployed.

“It’s combat focused training. We train as we fight,” Sanchez said as he stood in full protective equipment outside a brick building on post.

The mock city situated on Fort Riley makes training troops in the Big Red One efficient and effective.

“Most of these training scenarios are built to get a squad size element – about nine personnel to maneuver against an enemy,” 2nd Lt. Ryan Hershberger said.

Hershberger, like the soldiers under his command, stood in the sun and moved around the building in the stifling heat wearing almost 70 pounds of extra protection.

Leather enforced gloves, body armor across their chest and back, helmets, thick eye and nose protection as well as knee pads didn’t slow the training troops down.

The men working drills practiced clearing the makeshift two-story jail nearly 10 times.

And when they’re suited up, the combat medics are on high alert. As a medic, Spc. Tyler Konkle works with a special thermometer called a Wet Bulb Thermometer that helps support gage how the heat will effect the troops.

Konkle watched the thermometer and determined – using a five category scale – how hot it felt to the soldiers in gear versus civilians.

And Hershberger knows how much the body armor adds.

“Just putting on this IOTV – this body armor – will increase that category by one,” he said slapping his hand against the hard, rigid plate that protects his chest.

He said the protective gear makes it difficult for air to move around the body and through the uniform the soldiers wear.

And although the soldiers were only using wax-coated training ammunition, they weight of the protective equipment simulated the feeling they’ll have when deployed in any hot climates.

“It doesn’t quite get to the actual combat weight but when (all is) said and done, they’re probably carrying around anywhere from the realm of about 60 to 70 pounds,” Sanchez said.

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