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Feb 22, 2010 5:00 PM by Veronica White

Mock Drills Prep Acadiana Soldiers for Iraq

Practicing for real-life situations is a key part of the soldiers' training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi.

Simulations help the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare for what they could face in Iraq.

"Communication is key-- make sure everyone communicates in the vehicle, my gunman and my driver, make sure everybody is okay," says Specialist Durell Green.

Although mock drills cannot compare to real life, the soldiers say they are the closest they can get.

Veterans say the simulations have improved:

"Training the last time was not as good as it was this time; it's a lot better I think for the soldiers who've never been," says Staff Sgt. Andrew Bonvillain.

Those being deployed for the first time agree:

"Since I have never been in combat before I think its realistic for me... it's going to help me out a lot," says Nicholas Robichaux.

The troops practice in a staged set up, with role players dressed as Iraqi civilians.

In these mock situations the troops are engaged by small arms fire and explosive devices. They have to act while keeping civilian casualties to a minimum.

These soldiers, many who are from right here in Acadiana, have been at Camp Shelby since early January and will be deployed in April.

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