High tempo AT for 149th MEB

By Sgt. Taylor Tribble, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

Soldiers with the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade evacuate a simulated casualty during an exercise at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center. More than 1,000 Soldiers of the 149th were on hand for the annual training that tested the interoperability of all units within the brigade. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Taylor Tribble)

GREENVILLE, Ky. — In recent years, most units of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) have conducted annual training at the company or the battalion levels. However, the 149th commander Col. Alexander Stewart said this year’s more collective training exercise in June at the Wendell H. Ford Training Center was different.

“The purpose of any MEB is to provide support to combat forces on the battlefield ensuring lines of communication remain secured and open for resupply,” said Stewart. “This allows the commanders of the combat forces to maintain momentum in the fight and defeat enemy forces.”

The 198th Military Police Battalion, 201st Engineer Battalion, 103rd Chemical Battalion, 149th Brigade Support Battalion, 149th Signal Company and 149th Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) worked together and used each other’s strengths to complete the missions that were mandated to them.

“The 149th MEB units excelled in demonstrating their ability to move, shoot, communicate, decontaminate, medicate and sustain in a demanding environment,” said Stewart.

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With “ARNG 4.0” announced at the beginning of this fiscal year, Army National Guard units are tasked with keeping a higher level of readiness.  This is not a program, but rather the future of the ARNG. It increases the training tempo and make units more readily available to mobilize to meet the needs of the operational environment.

“I like the high tempo training,” said Spc. Courtney Whitehouse with HHC, 149th. “It makes me realize how I have to think quickly and remain on my toes.”

With more than 1000 Soldiers on ground for this exercise, training consisted of decontamination operations, combined arms breaches, detainee operations, and traffic management. Each battalion worked together to excel in the missions pushed down to them.

“When I get to do chemical stuff, I get really excited,” said Pvt. Hanna Hendricks with the 103rd Chemical Battalion.  “This is my first annual training and I really enjoyed it!”

In addition to this training, incoming brigade commander Col. Joseph Gardner established a division higher headquarters to “test the 149th MEB against a live, thinking and hybrid threat,” said Lt. Col. James Richmond, deputy commander of the 149th.

Gardner also created a live opposition force and an observer, coach/trainer team to test their capabilities.

“Being with the OPFOR is one of the most fun things I have ever done,” said Pfc. Ken Smith with the 207th Engineer Company.

This annual training has increased the readiness of the 149th MEB and will conclude with a change of command ceremony welcoming Gardner into command.