FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division returned here from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., this week after a month in the Mojave Desert proving itself ready for its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
“I just want to say how incredibly proud I am of the troopers and leaders who really did a great job at NTC,” said Col. Brian J. Mennes, the 4th BCT Commander. “I think we carried a huge weight with the 82nd Airborne Division on our first time at NTC in about eight years.”
“Hats off to you, really and truly,” he said to a group of subordinate leaders during a meeting just before the Fury Brigade began transitioning back here.
Prior to his comments paratroopers from the Fury Brigade were recognized for breaking records while at NTC. Of note, Pvt. Zac Lohman, a Clarkston, Wash. native, assigned to 2nd Battalion as a Raven operator logged 94 hours and 20 minutes of flight time. Lohman was presented with a plaque marking his achievement.
Paratroopers with the Brigade were assessed on their actions through a series of training events including: a brigade level combat operation, multiple multi-battalion operations, base and outpost defense, route clearance, logistics and other operational necessities.
The training area at NTC, commonly referred to as “the box”, simulates Afghanistan with role-players, villages and a wide-open training area. This is to provide a realistic setting to train and assess soldiers in as they perform the countless tasks, both day-to-day and large scale, that determine success deployed.
Upon arrival to the Pope Army Airfield’s Green Ramp, the Brigade command sergeant major provided his praise for the paratroopers’ performance during an address to the families of the 4th BCT.
“It was an honor and privilege to watch your troopers excel at NTC,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Sturdevant. Referring to a brigade catchphrase, he continued, “They really got after it and kicked butt down at NTC.”
Though the praise was addressed to the troopers of the Fury Brigade, the brigade’s success wasn’t won solely by those who serve daily with the 4th BCT.
The Fury Brigade had grown with attached units such as the 307th Engineer Company from Fort Bragg, the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment from Fort Stewart and South Carolina National Guard attachments.
The leadership was quick to remind the paratroopers that their work isn’t done.
“We won the last preseason game, we’re getting ready for the regular season,” said Mennes.
“We still have a lot of work to do and some good training coming up,” he continued. “I want to say how proud I am of this team, I appreciate everything the Fury extended family does for us.”
“Great job, Fury from the sky!” finalized Sturdevant.