YAKIMA, WA - Over the course of three weeks 4,000 soldiers from the 81st Brigade will have gone through training at the Yakima Training Center (YTC).

"We've created an environment where we can do situational training exercises culminating with live fire events for each platoon," said Col. Shaughnessy Hodge, Brigade Commander.

The goal, prepare every solider for possible deployment.

"That they emerge from this opportunity the best version of the 81st Brigade that we could possibly push forward to the National Training Center and beyond," said Hodge.

Different exercises take place in different areas of YTC, there's a mass casualty scenario, field artillery exercises and live fire drills, but with high winds soldiers had to stop.

Despite the weather Hodge says it all sets a life like experience for soldiers.

"There's a multitude of challenges obviously we have to deal with. First and foremost some of the environment challenges that we have to face, the increase temperatures, the wind, getting soldiers to the physical rigor that's associated with the type of training that we're doing."

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew James, Battalion Commander agrees with Hodge he says it's this kind of training prepares soldiers for future events.

"You know you train hard now so if you're ever in the big game to make it that much easier. So you want to make sure that everything you do now you're preparing as well as you possibly can in case you ever face a really dire circumstance," said James.

Lt.-Col. James also says a lot of collaboration and planning goes into providing this experience, "You start about a year out and you start making you're training plan early."

At the end of the day James and Hodge both say it's all worth it for those who come to YTC for the training.

"We wanted to make sure this is a world class training event. We understand the sacrifices they make both in leaving their families and their friends and their employers so we wanted to make sure they got the best training opportunities they could," said Hodge.

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