Camp Guernsey two-week home for 1,000+ WyoGuard soldiers

Jun 22, 2017

Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire

State Public Affairs

It was a busy few weeks this June at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center and for most of the Wyoming Army National Guard’s soldiers as they bivouacked, maneuvered and communicated throughout the almost 80,000-acre facility polishing their warfighting skills.

Implementing traditional and new communications technology was at the top of the to-do list for the 115th Field Artillery Brigade, which fielded the Command Post of the Future on the JTC’s South Training Area to successfully complete the Mission Command Systems Integration Exercise. Sharing the Grey Rocks training area was the 148th Signal Company and the 960th Brigade Support Battalion, both of which added communications and logistics support.

Up north, the headquarters and alpha and bravo batteries of 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery maneuvered High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers and support vehicles throughout the training area with mechanical and logistical support from the 920th Forward Support Company. The 920th was augmented with mechanics from units throughout the state.

 

 

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The brigade used new technology to communicate with the firing batteries, and even an out of state unit, according to Maj. Tom Blackburn, Brigade communications officer, from Wellington, Colorado.

“This AT we did something the brigade had never done before, and that was communicate over our tactical network to our battalions while in the field. We had comms with two battalions in the state, and one unit in Wisconsin,” Blackburn explained. “It was hugely satisfying to accomplish this mission. The signal soldiers were committed to this exercise, and you could tell just by the amount of hours they dedicated to get everything working. It was amazing to watch.”

Lt. Col. Fred Nasredine, of Cheyenne, who spent 75 percent of AT as the brigade’s deputy commander, and finished as the new commander of the 2-300th, following a change of command ceremony, said planning for the exercise has been the brigade’s focus for two years.

“It validated our ability to provide mission command through the brigade’s Army Battle Command Systems. We used a tactical simulation in the background as a vehicle to exercise our systems, and it came together very nice. For some of our young soldiers, this was the first time they were able to experience and be a part of what the field artillery brigade actually does. In the end, it was a great training event, and it will set us up for success as we progress on this readiness continuum.”

The brigade’s supply non-commissioned officer, Master Sgt. Josh Phillips, from Laramie, was impressed with his troops too.

“The junior enlisted soldiers really stepped up, and did a lot of cross-training and learning new tasks,” Phillips said. “Overall, it went really well. Setting up and utilizing the communications from Grey Rocks to the 2-300 up north was excellent, and so were the ranges.”

On another area of the North Training Area, infantrymen from C Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment conducted the unit’s first annual training period.

Most of the enlisted soldiers were finishing up reclassification school this time last year, after joining from other units, but a few had some infantry experience prior to the unit standing up. Unit leaders spent most of this first year planning for the two-week event.

“We really dug into the books and relied heavily on the guys who have experience,” said 2nd Lt. Eric Rush, a platoon leader from Arvada, Colorado, who like several of the young officers in the unit, is in line to attend infantry officer school at Fort Benning soon.

Rush said the unit, stationed at Evanston and Afton, has drilled together at one or the other locations through the year, but was pleased to put the wide-ranging facilities of Guernsey to the test.

“It was a different look for the guys,” he said. “We have training areas, but the CONEX villages for urban operations and the training lanes we planned were really excellent up here.”

Rush, like several other leaders in the unit, is impressed with the morale and motivation of the soldiers.

“The coolest thing about C Company is everyone wants to be here. It’s the most motivated group of soldiers around,” he said.

UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crews assigned to G Company 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment supported missions for both Recruiting and Retention Battalion and the infantry regiment.

The scenario of an urban operations training exercise, at a North Training Area CONEX village where soldiers can simulate clearing dwellings in a city, included two infantrymen getting shot, and subsequently needing medical evacuation—which G Co. promptly provided.

They also transported dozens of educators from several areas of Wyoming, to spend a day with the Guard. The RRB-hosted event was designed to teach the teachers some of the benefits enlistment can provide to their students.

Much of the 213th Regional Training Institute staff spent AT ensuring it was meeting and exceeding the standards set by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, whose quality assurance team was onsite inspecting the facility and staff. Others at the RTI were busy training future HIMARS operators and supporting their logistical needs.

Many of the Training Center Command troops at Camp Guernsey completed AT in support of the visiting units. Helicopters and vehicles got fueled, grass got mowed, targets got repaired, food got issued to name but a few of the services the training site’s soldiers provided to ensure everyone looks forward to doing it all again next summer.

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