The Louisiana National Guard’s Second Battalion is training in Mississippi.
KATC Reporter Josh Meny and Photojournalist John Lee are with them at Camp Shelby.
While soldiers say training in the heat and humidity isn’t easy, the challenge helps them prepare for combat.
"Drink water, that’s all you can do. Drink water and stay out of the sun," says Staff Sgt. Adam Desormeaux.
Living in the field for more than a week, these soldiers are keeping their skills polished to stay combat ready.
"During the training today, we’re practicing a platoon attack. With that comes a lot of moving pieces," says Second Lt. Platoon Leader Marquis Smith.
Strategically moving through the dense subtropical forest, the soldiers practice attacks, and with the simulation comes return fire. Blank rounds and laser sensors indicate when they’ve been "hit."
"All of this is in preparation for next summer, JRTC. It’s a big train-up for future deployments. Just trying to get us ready," Desormeaux says.
The servicemen train in full uniform, baking under the sun, and one soldier "falls out" with heat stroke. Soldiers say the heat and humidity has been a significant obstacle, but the challenge not only prepares them for future mission scenarios but strengthens their camaraderie.
"The guys out here, to be honest for how rough it’s been with the weather, there motivation is high. And, as a leader, you can do a lot with motivation," Smith says.
"Ah man, they’re solid! These are my guys! They have performed beyond any expectations we could have had coming into this," says Stefan Bernard / 1st Lieutenant – Mortar Platoon Leader. "And, again there’s things we can always work on, but these guys, they’re hot man, and they know what they’re doing, and they know what they’re doing really well."