2004-07-09 / Community

Local Involved In Experimental US Army Program

Local Involved In Experimental US Army Program


Army Pfc. Jason E. Bell, a Rockaway resident and an infantryman out of Fort Stewart, Ga., reads a map prior to a land navigation exercise in the Mojave Desert.  Bell recently trained at Fort Irwin, Calif., for an upcoming deployment to Iraq with the Army’s newest concept - the Unit of Action.  (Photo by Gregory Kobashigawa)Army Pfc. Jason E. Bell, a Rockaway resident and an infantryman out of Fort Stewart, Ga., reads a map prior to a land navigation exercise in the Mojave Desert.  Bell recently trained at Fort Irwin, Calif., for an upcoming deployment to Iraq with the Army’s newest concept - the Unit of Action.  (Photo by Gregory Kobashigawa)

Soldiers who normally train at this massive Army post next door to Death Valley in California’s Mojave Desert don’t usually come away with a pleasant experience.  Scorpions the size of a man’s hand, sand that can whip across the canyons at blasts of more than 80 mph, and a blistering sun that can scorch  the desert floor with temperatures above 120 degrees are just a few of the elements soldiers face.  Then there’s the unrelenting opposing force that uses home field advantage to make the visitors’ lives miserable.

But for the graduate of Beach Channel High School, braving these harsh conditions is well worth the effort. Army Pfc. Jason E. Bell, a 1995 graduate of BCHS is at the Army’s National Training Center to test a revolutionary new unit structure that is changing the face of the battlefield for the 21st Century.

Spawned from the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the new structures are called units of action and are designed to allow the Army to go anywhere in the world within 96 hours and to engage any enemy, anywhere with a full array of weapons.

While Bell and his fellow soldiers know that these training conditions are some of the most severe they will ever face, they also know that they are charting history with a type of unit that will help America win on any battlefield it faces.


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