Public watches combat training up close in ‘The Box’ at JRTC & Fort Polk

Fort Polk Box Tour
Published: Jun. 4, 2022 at 10:59 PM CDT
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FORT POLK, La. (KALB) - On Saturday, June 4, the public had the opportunity to see how soldiers at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk train for combat missions inside The Box.

The Box is a training range on the installation where brigade-sized elements (4,000-6,000+ people) and multinational units come to train through a 14-day realistic battle with simulated combat scenarios.

Once a year, The Box is open to the public to give family and friends a tour and a demonstration of advanced combat training.

“I liked it, this is amazing, we come every year but this year it was better,” said Charolette Cossey after the tour.

Brigadier General David Doyle Commanding General of Fort Polk, said it is important to let family and friends see what their support helps build.

“We put a burden on our families in many cases to support us, and they contribute to everything that we do, so when we get a chance to show them what their efforts are helping us generate, it’s a fantastic relationship,” said Brig. Gen. Doyle. “Then a child or a spouse can see that if my loved one is out in The Box for all this time, they’re doing something that matters.”

The 1-509th Infantry Regiment, or Geronimo Unit, acts as the opposing force during training sessions in The Box and is notorious for being the most hated unit in the Army for constantly challenging the forces that are training (and the fact that they have never lost a combat simulation).

“We are the most hated unit in the Army primarily because we play the bad guys,” said Staff Sergeant Cody Roberts. “We get to do the things that other units do not or cannot do, and do it with such proficiency that it realizes their weaknesses and brings in a stark realization that maybe they are not as good as they think they are, and where they can improve.”

The intense training serves a purpose: Making certain that when the forces are needed for a real combat mission, they are ready for anything.

“What we do here is that we ensure that our Army’s first fight is a success in combat because we will challenge them here worse than any nation can challenge them on foreign soil,” said Col. Andrew Saslav, Commander of Operations Group.

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