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Active Duty, National Guard Partnership Proves Powerful
by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Leah Kilpatrick - July 15, 2016

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American Pride: Poems Honoring America and Her Patriots! by David G. Bancroft

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FORT HOOD, Texas – Rarely are great strides made in a vacuum. Instead, the harnessing of talents, resources, abilities and strengths from others is what garners success – in any arena.

The U.S. Army Total Force Policy is ensuring that units don't go it alone, but that they train together and, collectively, all units achieve their respective training objectives.

During the 3-week-long Multi-echelon Integrated Brigade Training Exercise at Fort Hood, the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Greywolf,” 1st Cavalry Division and the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team “Dixie Thunder” from the Mississippi Army National Guard, had different training objectives. By working together to make use of collective resources, they both managed to reap benefits.

Air Force Tech. Sgts. Jim Buckley and Kole Nail, both Joint Terminal Attack Controllers with the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron, Mississippi Air National Guard, discuss possible targets with Army Spc. Antwyn Sutton, and Pfc. Tyler Davis, both Cavalry Scouts with 1st Squadron, 98th Cavalry Regiment, Mississippi Army National Guard, June 12, 2016 at Fort Hood, Texas. The JTAC Airmen are assisting the 155th ABCT during the Multi-echelon Brigade Training exercise that sustains readiness of the reserve and active components. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)
Air Force Tech. Sgts. Jim Buckley and Kole Nail, both Joint Terminal Attack Controllers with the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron, Mississippi Air National Guard, discuss possible targets with Army Spc. Antwyn Sutton, and Pfc. Tyler Davis, both Cavalry Scouts with 1st Squadron, 98th Cavalry Regiment, Mississippi Army National Guard, June 12, 2016 at Fort Hood, Texas. The JTAC Airmen are assisting the 155th ABCT during the Multi-echelon Brigade Training exercise that sustains readiness of the reserve and active components. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)

“I think we more than achieved what we initially set out to do, and both units had the flexibility to adjust during the exercise,” said Col. John Woodward, Greywolf commander. “So as conditions needed to be changed to achieve the training objectives, we were able to synchronize between the two of us and both get out of the exercise what we needed.”

While the Dixie Thunder Brigade occupied the Fort Hood training area in an offensive posture, Greywolf Brigade supplied an opposing force in the form of the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment.

“I wanted to provide a first-class training opportunity for the 155th ABCT by providing them with an OPFOR for their training exercise,” Woodward said. “The second thing I wanted to do was – simultaneously – I wanted to benefit from this OPFOR mission and execute collective training at the troop level and squadron level for 6-9 Cav.”
The benefits go beyond battalion or even brigade level.

“Automatically, it's not just one brigade to another brigade,” said Col. Jeffrey Van, Dixie Thunder commander. “It's the fact that 1st Cav. Division gets another brigade under its wing and immediately nested under its [standing operating procedures]. We want the [division commander] to feel free to utilize 155th and to feel like he's got some ownership of the 155th ABCT just like he does with the remainder of his brigades. We want to maintain this relationship with 1st Cavalry Division. We think it's important to keeping 155th relevant.”

Spc Max Adams, in infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry Regiment, Mississippi Army National Guard, provides security after dismounting a Bradley fighting vehicle during the Multi-echelon Integrated Brigade Training exercise June 12, 2016 at Fort Hood, Texas. The MiBT is a multicomponent training event that sustains readiness of the reserve and active components in accordance with the Army’s Total Force policy. The 155th Infantry Regiment, headquartered in McComb, Mississippi, is the sixth oldest active infantry regiment in the U.S. Army and is known as the “Mississippi Rifles.” (Mississippi National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)
Spc Max Adams, in infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry Regiment, Mississippi Army National Guard, provides security after dismounting a Bradley fighting vehicle during the Multi-echelon Integrated Brigade Training exercise June 12, 2016 at Fort Hood, Texas. The MiBT is a multicomponent training event that sustains readiness of the reserve and active components in accordance with the Army's Total Force policy. The 155th Infantry Regiment, headquartered in McComb, Mississippi, is the sixth oldest active infantry regiment in the U.S. Army and is known as the “Mississippi Rifles.” (Mississippi National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)

In the Army concept of ensuring that all components are trained and ready to fight the nation's wars, sustaining a mutually beneficial relationship with the active component has effectively rescued the Dixie Thunder Brigade.
“Four years ago, through national-level budget cuts, the 155th was on the chopping block of being divested,” said Van. “Now after four years of operationalizing ATFP, shooting a lot of gunnery and doing a lot of maneuver, it is one of the lead ABCTs in the National Guard. In order to maintain your maneuver proficiency, in order to maintain [tactics, techniques and procedures] and in order to keep up your maneuver tasks in an effective way, you grow more with your Soldiers whenever you're operating with an active duty unit.”

After working together at the eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise last year and the MIBT this year, the partnership is strong, the benefits are reciprocal, and the plans for future collaboration are in place.
“So, the benefit is we are never going to fight alone,” Woodward said. “With the size of our Army, the active component relies heavily on the Reserve component. For them to gain the [tactics, techniques and procedures] that we practice more regularly than they do is beneficial for them, and the different perspectives that they bring to our problem sets are something that we can learn from as well.”

Mississippi Army National Guard Soldiers with 2d Battalion, 114th Field Artillery Regiment, 155th armored Brigade Combat Team conduct platoon certification live fire June 8, 2016 during the Multi-echelon Brigade Training Exercise at Fort Hood, Texas June 8, 2016. The MiBT is a multicomponent training event that sustains readiness of the reserve and active components in accordance with the U.S. Army’s Total Force policy. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)
Mississippi Army National Guard Soldiers with 2d Battalion, 114th Field Artillery Regiment, 155th armored Brigade Combat Team conduct platoon certification live fire June 8, 2016 during the Multi-echelon Brigade Training Exercise at Fort Hood, Texas June 8, 2016. The MiBT is a multicomponent training event that sustains readiness of the reserve and active components in accordance with the U.S. Army's Total Force policy. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)

In the end, a vast training event spanning three weeks of Abrams tank live fires, Bradley Fighting Vehicle live fires, and defensive and offensive force-on-force operations yielded two formations of trained and ready troops – one active duty and one National Guard.

“We're actually still gaining more benefits as we come through here,” Van said. “And every time that we deal with Greywolf or any of our active component brethren, the guard gains more relevance, and it's further enabled by its combined arms maneuver whenever we do operations together. Just the daily force-on-force where platoon leaders and company commanders and battalion commanders shared tactics, techniques and procedures on their maneuver tasks daily. Both of us are much better units after having executed this jointly together.”

By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Leah Kilpatrick
3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2016

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