Friday, August 28, 2015

Oregon Army National Guard units complete battle simulations at U.S. Army National Training Center

An Oregon Army National Guard Soldier with 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, drives away from an enemy smoke screen at dawn during the first day of simulated combat operations at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Aug. 22. (Photo by Spc. Michael Germundson, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
More than 500 Soldiers of the Oregon Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 116th Calvary Regiment (3-116th Combined Arms), and the 1186th Military Police Company (1186th MP), spent 12 days conducting live-fire exercises and large-scale simulated battle scenarios at the National Training Center (NTC), in the Mojave Desert at Fort Irwin, Calif., August 14-25, 2015.

The Oregon units augmented the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (CBCT) during the first Decisive Action operation, known as “force-on-force,” integrated combat and maneuver training cycle the Army National Guard has completed since the beginning of the Global War on Terror. More than 5,200 Service Members from 10 states’ National Guard units, as well as U.S. Army Reserve and active duty U.S. Army components, participated in the training.

Staff Sgt. Rodriguez, with 3rd Platoon, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment; 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, receives a situation report prior to an enemy helicopter attack during a battle simulation exercise at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, Calif., Aug. 22. (Photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

“The purpose of this NTC rotation is to allow the brigade to advance its collective training skillsets and our proficiencies as a brigade combat team,” said Idaho Army National Guard Col. Russell Johnson, commander of the 116th CBCT. “We rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to take all 4,000-plus Soldiers out and train together at one time. The National Training Center is one of those rare resources in today’s Army that allows us the opportunity to do that.”

The training was designed to simulate an expeditionary deployment experience and increase war-fighting capabilities. The 116th CBCT used Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Apache helicopters provided by the Idaho Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 183rd Attack Reconnaissance (1-183rd ARB), to conduct simulated battles against the U.S. Army’s 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR).

The Director of the Army National Guard, Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, said that NTC training ensures combat units in the National Guard achieve the readiness levels required by the Army in order to meet the nation’s demands.

“The National Guard is part of the total Army force and we have combat formations within our team ... so it’s important that we give these organizations the opportunity to come out and go against world-class OPFOR [opposing forces] to grow and train,” said Kadavy.

An M1A2 Abrams tank crew from D Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (CBCT), Oregon Army National Guard, fires the 120mm main gun during a company live fire exercise, Aug. 16, at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. (Photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Oregon’s 3-116th Battalion successfully conducted three running battles and retained the ability to continue projecting effective combat power during the training. The battalion defeated more than double its weight in opposing force combat troops, armor and equipment.

“It was an extremely challenging environment and a very difficult standard and the Soldiers did exceptionally well,” said Oregon Army National Guard Lt. Col. Brian Dean, commander of the 3-116th Battalion.

The 3-116th Battalion consists of Citizen-Soldiers from seven Eastern Oregon cities and was the first National Guard battalion in the nation certified on the new M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) and the Abrams M1A2 SEPv2 main battle tank. The battalion spent four years training on the new equipment and preparing for NTC.

“This marks the end of a lot of sacrifice for Soldiers, families and employers,” said Dean. “I want to thank the families. I understand that it is sacrifice for them. And to the employers, without them being willing to give up their hard working Soldiers, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Bloker participates in a safety brief with troops in 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (CBCT), Oregon Army National Guard, prior relocating their tactical base of operations during combat training at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, Calif., Aug. 17. (Photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

The 1186th MP Company is based in Salem, Oregon, with a detachment in Milton-Freewater. The military police Soldiers contributed to the training as a combat service and support unit.

“The troops have been great. It’s been absolutely fantastic. High morale under very austere conditions and they’ve risen to every challenge and I’m fantastically proud of each and every one of them,” said Oregon Army National Guard Master Sgt. James Webb, with the 1186 MP Company, 821st Troop Command Battalion.

Oregon Army National Guardsman Pfc.Treyse Reber, M240 gunner with the 1186th Military Police Company, provides security for his squad as they contemplate a route for their mission at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, Calif., Aug. 23, during the second day of the force-on-force simulated battle between 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (CBCT) and the Opposing Force (OPFOR), 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR). (Photo by Maj. W. Chris Clyne, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)


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