DALLAS – Some unique training is taking place on the hills of Fort Hood (search), with civilians playing a key role in preparing U.S. soldiers for Iraq.
Civilians, who are paid $11.25 an hour, dress up in traditional Arab garb while taunting and tricking troops in a fake Iraqi town.
All the dangers of Iraq are here, including booby traps like a grenade hidden inside a cabinet. It is crucial for soldiers to learn how to detect, defuse and avoid improvised explosive devices (search) that are killing an average of two American soldiers a day. The Army says using real civilians provides great benefits, in part because soldiers don't have to fill those roles.
"We use 300 civilians on the battlefield here. That would be a lot of manpower that is better used in training and in a combat environment with their units. The second reason is you get an honest reaction out of civilians when you use them to role-play civilians," said Lt. Col. John Siggelow.
Civilians riot, act as homicide bombers, beg for help and hurl insults at the soldiers. The men also act as snipers, playing war games with the real soldiers.
"Anything I can do to help the soldiers because you hear so many die," said civilian George Beaver.
Every soldier must pass through this training at least twice before they are deemed combat-ready. Then they move on to California for more training before leaving for Iraq.
Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Phil Keating.