Kentucky’s Fires Brigade wraps up annual training

Story by Spc. Lerone Simmons, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

140730-Z-IB888-006

Soldiers assigned to Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion,138th Field Artillery Brigade, move as a fire team and conduct a Military Operation in Urban Terrain as part of their annual training at Wendell. H. Ford Regional Training Center, July 30, 2014. The 138th focused on Soldier training that helps with individual communication and movement during their reset year after completing a deployment to the Horn of Africa last year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Lerone Simmons)

GREENVILLE, Ky. — Soldiers assigned to the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 138th Field Artillery Brigade carried out their annual two-week training at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, during the last two weeks of July.

For a large number of the brigade’s Soldiers, it was their  first annual training since  deploying to the Horn of Africa in 2012-2013. The unit served as security forces for Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti and assisted in multi-national military training in the region.

“This is a reset year for us, so this AT was focused heavily on individual Soldier training, and has been quite successful,” said Sgt. Maj. Rob Hughes, brigade operations sergeant major.

Hughes mentioned how much time went into planning for an event of this large scale, ushering approximately 800 Soldiers through training.

“From first plans to execution, it took about three years to see this become a reality,” he said. “I’m impressed with the way our leadership kept track and carried out the training as well as our Soldiers who are meeting every task placed in front of them to standard.”

140730-Z-IB888-002

Spc. Tyler Douglas, a fire direction controller assigned to Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion,138th Field Artillery Brigade, interviews Spc. Christopher Plummer, a petroleum and resupply specialist, assigned to 2/138 Forward Support Company, during a mock “Interacting with Media” exercise during their annual training at Wendell. H. Ford Regional Training Center, July 30, 2014. The 138th focused on individual Soldier training during their reset year after completing a deployment to the Horn of Africa last year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Lerone Simmons)

One of the main priorities of individual Soldier training was completing the Army’s Self Structured Development training, which is a requirement for specialists to master sergeant for promotion.

“The training is designed to be continuous throughout a Soldier’s career, geared to expand the individual Soldier’s knowledge base, self-awareness, and situational awareness,” he said. “So far we have almost 100 percent of those who required the training, completed.”

Soldiers also learned the very important role they play as ambassadors for the Kentucky National Guard and the Army during media engagement training.

“We were briefed on how to properly interact with media,” said Spc. Christopher Plummer, a petroleum & resupply specialist assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 138th Forward Support Company.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if an interview popped up at any time, but now I’m more confident knowing that I have this training to fall back on,” he said.

Aside from theu classroom and computer-based instruction, Soldiers also conducted military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) training. According to 1st Lt. Sean C. Jones, fire direction officer for Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 138th FA, the MOUT training was productive and a good reminder that the unit must work as a team.

“The MOUT training served as a valuable communication tool for our Soldiers, and also gave our junior non commissioned officers more opportunities to lead,” he said.

The training allowed unit leaders to rate the Soldier’s proficiency with the Army warrior tasks also refreshed the teams on important security procedures they may face again in future operations.

“MOUT training requires Soldiers to work as a fire team under small arms fire while moving through an urban environment,” Jones said. “We also train on how to properly conduct a search on an individual to ensure safety and security.”

“Completing individual Soldier training was our mission for this AT and I’m proud of leadership and the Soldiers who carried it out,” said Jones. But the unit is also excited, he said, to “shooting our cannons.”

About kentuckyguard