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Serving Our Country In More Ways Than One
by U.S. Army Sgt. DeUndra Brown, MSARNG - June 30, 2016

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Serving our country in more ways than one, Congressman Trent Kelly can wear any shirt when he's needed, whether it be representing the Army or representing the House, he can transition without any hesitation.

Congressman Trent Kelly Soldiers did so in June 2016 with the Mississippi Army National Guard (MSARNG) soldiers who were participating in the Multi-echelon Integrated Brigade Training exercise (MiBT) at Fort Hood. The MiBT showcases the partnership of the MSARNG 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) and active components of the 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and First Army.

Congressman Trent Kelly, or Colonel Kelly, commander, 168th Engineer Brigade, as he's known to MSARNG counterparts, reflected on his support of the 155 ABCT.

Congressman Trent Kelly with a picture of "The Mississippi Rifles" for presentation to Mississippi Army National Guard (MSARNG) officers participating in the training at Fort Hood on June 11, 2016. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Sgt. DeUndra Brown, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)
Congressman Trent Kelly with a picture of "The Mississippi Rifles" for presentation to Mississippi Army National Guard (MSARNG) officers participating in the training at Fort Hood on June 11, 2016. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Sgt. DeUndra Brown, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)

“This is the brigade that I served in combat with, the 155 BCT, and as a Mississippi Guardsmen who currently serves and knowing all these guys,” Kelly said, “To see how hard they train, to see how difficult it is and how complex; it also shows the work ability in the active component, the reserve, and National Guard from several different states all working together to make sure we achieve one common goal and that's to defend this great nation.”

His visit to Fort Hood tied into both jobs that he holds. He wanted to show his Congressional counterparts how their jobs can have an affect on military, since less than 18 percent has served in any capacity, Kelly stated.

“My job relates pretty good because some of these are my Soldiers, and everything we do in Congress, I think the keystone or cornerstone, to all this is defending this great nation of ours. I'm on the (agriculture) committee. Chairman Miller and several of those guys who aren't in armed services, its important that we make sure our Congress has an understanding because less and less of our congressman have served in any capacity.

Kelly feels the only way to show them how things get done and what is needed, is to bring them to the fight.

“It's important that we tell our story and we show our story, and its no better way than doing that by showing our Soldiers at war. A lot of people talk about the readiness of the army this is an opportunity for our real national leaders to see our real Soldiers in action.”

Kelly served at Fort Hood in '88, '89, ‘90 and several times since then but never had he seen things come together like they did for the Soldiers and the materials that were needed.

Congressman Trent Kelly explains to Congressman Dan Newhouse Paladin maneuvering on the battlefield at Fort Hood on June 11, 2016. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Sgt. DeUndra Brown, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)
Congressman Trent Kelly explains to Congressman Dan Newhouse Paladin maneuvering on the battlefield at Fort Hood on June 11, 2016. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Sgt. DeUndra Brown, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)

“One of the greatest thing we had, Lt General Tucker was integral on this, the law, Congress said long time ago, said we could use other peoples equipment, if we're in the army. Its one Army and the equipment is all ours, just because you maintain it all the time, and so its never been used. And with decreasing resources the amount that it cost to transport pieces of equipment from one location to another we save millions of dollars, probably hundreds of millions of dollars, and we fall in on equipment and it also replicates what we have to in an immature combat theatre expeditionary type force,” said Kelly.

If there were concerns about the Soldiers completing the overall mission, his main concern was their safety.

“I'm very pleased because we got everybody from Camp Shelby and Mississippi here. That movement piece is such an integral part of the training that you have to know that if you fail at that you can't do the rest, so that was really important. Once we got our here, like I've said, I've trained and gone to combat with these guys before; so as far as their capabilities I know their good.

The training site offered many benefits for the Soldiers training.

“Fort Hood provides a training environment that they couldn't find anywhere else in the world, and the First Army, III Corp, 1st Cav Division, and Kansas National Guard, they have all plugged in to make sure this training experience all lined up.”

By U.S. Army Sgt. DeUndra Brown, MSARNG
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2016

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