35th Infantry Division General Visits Illinois Guard Troops in Minnesota PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sgt. 1st Class Mike Chrisman, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Monday, 16 July 2012 13:35

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/14/2012)(readMedia)-- Brig. Gen. Victor Braden, Assistant Division Commander of the 35th Infantry Division (ID) at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. visited Camp Ripley, Minn. July 13 to observe Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers training.

"This is a great opportunity for the brigade and the Soldiers," Braden said. "I am very impressed. Training like this is good for the Army as a whole and it's great that our Soldiers have opportunities like this."

Approximately 3,200 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers are at Camp Ripley for the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise. The training simulates realistic situations Soldiers could encounter in combat.

Col. Paul Hastings of St. Charles, Ill., Brigade Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) said the 15 months of planning for the exercise has made it a success.

"This exercise is going exactly as planned," said Hastings. "Soldiers and leaders are stressed and doing their best to improve."

The 33rd IBCT, with headquarters in Urbana, has 30 companies throughout Illinois. The 33rd was the first unit in the country to participate in XCTC operations in 2007 as they prepared for a deployment to Afghanistan.

Braden said training has evolved since he came into the Army in 1980.

"There is more technology, but the basics are the same," Braden said. "This is a great example of how they have improved training to better prepare our Soldiers for a successful mission."

The 33rd IBCT and 35th ID have historical ties. In 2006 Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 66th Brigade, 35th ID consolidated and was designated Headquarters, 33rd IBCT.

Photo: Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mike Chrisman, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/ Brig. Gen. Victor Braden (left), Assistant Division Commander for the 35th Infantry Division at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. visits Camp Ripley, Minn. July 13. Braden, along with Brig. Gen. Johnny Miller of Tamms, Ill., Assistant Adjutant General of the Illinois Army National Guard (center) and Col. Paul Hastings of St. Charles, Ill., Brigade Commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team observe 33rd Soldiers conducting training.

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