See What It's Like For US Troops In Pre-Deployment Training For Afghanistan

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Military members know very well that if you aren’t deployed to a war zone, you’re likely training for one.

Soldiers deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) in year-long stints, while the other services typically go for six to seven months. But soon after troops return and celebrate their homecoming, they often have to get ready for next time.

It’s all the nature of their constantly changing ‘workplace’ — some soldiers get off active duty while brand new ones check in, enemy tactics change, and new techniques need to be learned.

It’s called predeployment training, where they hone their skills and learn a few new ones, so they can be ready for whatever happens downrange.

Any training before deployment is going to have plenty of shooting ranges with small arms ...

... As well as machine guns, like the the M240 here, which fires 7.62 mm out to over 4000 yards.

For soldiers that mainly operate in vehicles like the Humvee, they'll put them through heavy use stateside ...

... Because the vehicles will be under serious stress overseas.

But many soldiers and Marines do 'mini-deployments' to training areas before they head to Afghanistan or Iraq.

At the Marines' 29 Palms Training centre, the conditions for units rotating through is pretty spartan.

But they won't stay in the huts very often. Instead, they'll patrol the desert areas, and sleep outside for days at a time.

Instead of worrying about Taliban bullets, the bigger fear here comes from the wildlife.

With the rugged terrain of Afghanistan ahead, some will train under similar mountain conditions in Bridgeport, Calif.

Learning how to safely rappel down a rock face ...

... Or cross a rough river without getting yourself soaked.

But there's also been a big emphasis on training in urban environments in the past decade ...

... Because blowing up the bad guys' door ...

... And clearing tight spaces is often essential.

Boosts in technology have helped make for realistic training scenarios.

And better training sites show what an Iraqi or Afghan village would look like ...

... Complete with actors who play both friend and foe.

The biggest threat for deployed troops is improvised explosives. The bombs can be made out of just about anything.

And troops are often shown mockups of what had already been found overseas.

But it's not all combat training.

They usually spend a fair amount of time in a classroom learning language, culture, and rules of engagement.

Until they load up with all their gear and head on over ...

... Away from home ranging between a few months to over a year, depending on the military branch and destination.

You've seen what it's like to work up before a deployment ...

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