FORT HOOD, Texas / FORT IRWIN, Calif. (FOX 44) – FOX 44 News followed Fort Hood soldiers to California’s National Training Center to see how they prepare for deployment.

A trip to the National Training Center is no easy feat for the soldiers of Fort Hood. They begin their preparations weeks in advance, and are thrown right into action as soon as they arrive.

“As soon as they show up at the National Training Center, they immediately move out into the tactical environment. They do what we call expeditionary RSOI reception, staging onward movement and integration. During that period, they will receive their equipment, and they will go ahead and try and increase their combat power as much as possible,” says Colonel Steve Carpenter, Deputy Commander of Support for 1st Cav Division.

Those exercises are all within the first week of training at California’s National Center. When the soldiers enter week two, they are then in put in to what as known as “The Box.”

The Box is the part of Fort Irwin where all of the action happens.

“The Box is where the majority of the training takes place. [It is] a large vast area with a lot of complex terrain for soldiers to maneuver out in the area. What it provides is a realistic, tough environment. [An] unforgiving environment for them to practice the things that they did at home station, on a much larger scale, up to the brigade level.” says LTC James Ray, Deputy Division Chief of Staff 1st Cav Division.

The Fort Hood soldiers spend two weeks in the box living and training in real life combat scenarios, with an enemy on the opposing side. Leaders say it is as realistic as it can be to prepare them for real combat zones.

Their last week is spent fixing any issues with equipment and reloading all of it onto the trains or trailers to come back to Fort Hood.

This timeline is just a small portion when it comes down to how much happens at the National Training Center. FOX 44’s Allison Fox O’Connor will keep you updated with the rest of the training as it progresses.