Stryker Brigade Trains For War

Staff Sergeant Conrad Vasquez
Staff Sergeant Conrad Vasquez
1st Sergeant Bill Burford
1st Sergeant Bill Burford

(KHNL) - More than half of the soldiers assigned to Schofield Barracks on Oahu are already deployed to Iraq.

Before the global war on terrorism, a soldier that had a combat patch; a sign they'd been deployed to a hazardous location, was rare.

Most of the soldiers training at Schofield not only have combat patches, but many of them have already been deployed several times to Afghanistan or Iraq.

Conrad Vasquez grew up in Kalihi, but lately he's spent a lot of time in the middle east supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Staff Sergeant Conrad Vasquez, "I've been to oif 1, oif 2 from the start, re-deployed back to the states, then to Hawaii, and then I went to Afghanistan."

Between his last two deployments, Vasquez only had 9 months at home. He's not sure how long until his next deployment, "they're just soldiers. They do what they gotta do. They don't ask questions. No ones a robot in the military, but this is they duty that we signed up for and we do it."

When it first opened, urban warfare training was a new experience for most soldiers. But, now that most of them have already been downrange, its more of a refresher course.

"I've talked to soldiers with half my rank who can tell me stories, and tactics, techniques, and procedures that they've seen used and issues. We'll be conducting training exercises and I'll get told things like hey, we had a situation just like this. Its created a great wealth of experience at levels we never deemed possible. When I was a young soldier, the only people who could really tell me what it was like under fire were the old Vietnam veterans," says 1st Sergeant Bill Burford.

Thursday's firefight was simulated, but many of the soldiers participating have experienced the real thing, and train hard because they know they may soon see it again.

The Stryker Brigade we watched train hasn't received deployment orders yet, but they say they're ready to head out if the call comes.