Illinois National Guard Soldiers begin intense training in Minnesota PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maj. Nathan A. Westby, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team   
Monday, 09 July 2012 13:52

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. (07/09/2012)(readMedia)-- Soldiers with the Illinois National Guard began arriving at Camp Ripley, Minn., July 6 to support and train the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) through the Army National Guard's premier training program for brigade combat teams.

Units from all major commands in the Illinois National Guard are involved in the training event that includes the 33rd IBCT in Urbana, the 108th Sustainment Brigade in Chicago, the 65th Troop Command Brigade in Springfield, the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Chicago, and the Joint Forces Headquarters in Springfield. At the peak of operations there will be more than 3,200 Soldiers from Illinois at Camp Ripley.

Brig. Gen. Johnny Miller, Assistant Adjutant General for the Illinois Army National Guard, and the Task Force Illini commander for the exercise, said this is an opportunity to highlight the quality of the Illinois Army National Guard and its Soldiers.

"This exercise will demonstrate the high caliber of our organization to key decision makers at the national level and the community leaders where our armories are located," said Miller.

The 33rd IBCT is the primary training audience during the 21-day exercise, which will certify the brigade's companies and platoons on the ability to perform mission specific tasks. Completing the three-week training exercise ensures the 33rd IBCT will be ready for potential future deployments in 2014 when the brigade will be in the available force pool.

Col. Paul C. Hastings, the 33rd IBCT commander said the exercise will be intense and challenging for all units in the 33rd IBCT.

"Over the next three weeks we will train to be the most lethal and survivable IBCT in the National Guard. Our execution of this exercise will be the most aggressive and complicated ever contemplated by an IBCT in this program," said Hastings.

The 33rd IBCT last completed the same Army National Guard program in 2008 before the unit deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Army National Guard program, the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC), was created in 2005 to reduce training overhead for National Guard brigades without sacrificing quality, standards, or outcomes. It is designed to build upon fundamental doctrine while integrating tough, realistic training. The XCTC program provides a cost-effective and readily available alternative to the Army's Combat Training Centers.

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