From Wolf Blitzer
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For U.S. troops heading to Iraq the drive from Kuwait is dangerous.
Convoys constantly come under attack from insurgents -- whether from those dreaded improvised explosive devices hidden along the roads, snipers or rocket-propelled grenades.
Live fire training exercises conducted in the northern Kuwaiti desert provide an opportunity for young U.S. troops about to travel with U.S. military convoys into Iraq for the first time. The training exercises prepare them for what will be a very dangerous mission.
And with bullets flying, the training exercises at the Udairi Range can themselves be quite dangerous.
"Things don't always go well during this, and that's the purpose of the after action report -- to talk about what was the plan, how did you prepare and what happened during execution and things that didn't go well during execution," says U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mike Milano.
The best way to prepare the troops for the dangerous drive through Iraq is to simulate what they might encounter.
To do that, the troops drive through a nearly 10 mile course during which they come under simulated hostile fire.
"The whole principle here is if there is a threat, return fire, and get out of the area as quickly as possible," Milano says.
It's a three-day program.
While accompanying troops through the course in the front seat of an armored Humvee, our driver explains that one vehicle has come under attack and has been disabled.
"It's going to be a hasty evacuation -- get them in a vehicle and get them out of the kill zone. After that, we will recover the vehicle, throw a tow strap on there, get it out of the kill zone while someone is suppressing the enemy and get out of there," says U.S. Army Maj. Matt Fath.
The military has built an overpass to show drivers how to evade grenades that could be dropped into their vehicles. The key is to swerve rapidly -- either to the left or right -- just before going underneath. Even though the insurgents already know this maneuver, it makes it tougher to hit the target.
At the same range, U.S. troops practice firing at an incoming vehicle trying to maneuver through barricades at the entrance to a camp.
The objective is to avoid another Beirut -- a reference to what happened in 1983 when a suicide truck driver simply approached the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing 241 U.S. service personnel.
On this day, military trainers assess how the trainees did.
"There was a big lag between the time that things started moving and your first round," one trainer says. "You've got to remember: that vehicle is coming at you and is trying to get through your checkpoint. You've got to stop him."