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Story by: Sgt. 1st Class Steven Petibone - 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade
Dated: Sat, Sep 15, 2007
Fort Drum -- Fast-paced training scenarios, overseen by combat veterans, took the Soldiers of the 3rdBattalion, 142nd Aviation back to the basics during their AnnualTraining in September.
The aviation Soldiers focused on basic combat skills, and not flight operations, as they prepared fora possible deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It’s a rare occasion when an assault helicopter battalion attends an annual training without bringing any of its helicopters,” said Lt. Col. Albert Ricci, the battalion commander. “It was back to the basics and they performed superbly!”
The change in the unit’straining tempo is embodied in a National Guard Bureau approved training planthat focuses on utilizing National Guard annual training time to get deployingunits validated on basic Warrior Tasks and battle drills.
As the Army implements thedesign for 12-month deployments of Army Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers, muchgreater emphasis is placed on accomplishing pre-mobilization tasks beforeleaving for active duty.
“The 142nd AssaultHelicopter Battalion (AHB) completed a very successful annual training event inpreparation for its potential mobilization next year, said Ricci, “Completingthese required training tasks before entering the theater will allow theSoldiers to spend less time at a pre-mobilization station and more timesupporting the war-fighting effort,” Ricci explained.
The types of trainingconducted at Fort Drum included all thebasic Warrior Tasks and critical pre-deployment training requirements.
Tasks ranged from movementtechniques, first aid, combat lifesaver training, land navigation, Humveerollover training, dealing with civilians on the battlefield, individual combatskills and nuclear, biological and chemical preparedness and response.
“The necessity to completeWarrior Tasks, Battle Drills, and theater immersion training in 2007 will allowthe unit to focus on aviation operations and weapons qualification during the2008 Annual Training,” continued Ricci.
The uniqueness of the new contingencyplan is that it allows other National Guardsmen who have already returned froma deployment to help train and validate National Guard units preparing todeploy to Afghanistan and Iraq, for manySoldiers, it is their first OIF or OEF deployment.
This concept prompted New York’s 42nd InfantryDivision Headquarters to form a battalion-level temporary organization known asthe Training and Evaluation Battalion (TEBn). The TEBn is staffed by previouslydeployed Soldiers from across the division.
“The organization formedprimarily for the annual training periods in June and October for the 27thBrigade Combat Team’s (BCT) deployment to Afghanistan to begin theirtour-of-duty supporting Task Force Phoenix.” Said Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg,42nd ID Public Affairs Officer. “Eventually, leaders and staff members from the27th BCT partnered with the division in order to conduct better and moreeffective training for Task Force Phoenix Soldiers who have so much to do andnever enough time to do it.”
The 3-142nd AHB tookadvantage of the TEBn by scheduling their unit annual training time inSeptember, giving the TEBn members an additional New York Army National Guardunit to support.