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    The Sights, Sounds and Success of North Carolina National Guard’s Regional Training Institute

    The Sights, Sounds and Success of North Carolina National Guard’s Regional Training Institute

    Photo By Lt. Col. Matthew Devivo | FORT BRAGG, N.C. – A 96 pound, 155mm munition waits its turn to be fired from the...... read more read more



    Story by Lt. Col. Matthew Devivo 

    North Carolina National Guard

    On any given day at North Carolina National Guard’s 139th Regiment-Regional Training Institute you are guaranteed to hear one, if not all, of the following; the boom of artillery fire, cadence and commands of officer candidates, medics calling vital signs, clicks and clanks of socket wrenches, diesel engines rumbling to life and Army trucks rolling along the pavement.

    North Carolina National Guard’s 139th Regiment-Regional Training Institute (139th RTI) trains hundreds of students annually in the skill sets associated with artillerymen (cannon and Multiple Launch Rocket System), combat medic, wheeled vehicle mechanic and motor transport operator/driver. It also runs officer and non-commissioned officer professional development classes and the North Carolina Army National Guard Officer Candidate School.

    "The core of what we do here at the 139th is to provide quality tactical and leader training to National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve and active duty soldiers and produce future North Carolina National Guard officers who will lead our formations for the next 10-20 years," said Lt. Col. Matt Handley, 139th RTI executive officer.

    The 139th RTI campus on Fort Bragg consists of 15 classrooms, a 179 seat auditorium, a computer lab, a complete dining facility and furnished barracks for 419 personnel. It also has a Regional Training Site Maintenance facility on Fort Bragg. Besides its Fort Bragg operation, the 139th RTI manages and operates Camp Butner, a 4,750 acre training center approximately 45 miles north of Raleigh.

    Camp Butner Training Center provides well maintained small arms ranges and training facilities year around in order to support the mission of the N.C. Guard by training Guardsmen, USAR and active duty Soldiers, Airmen, DoD Agencies, Civil Authorities, and Civilian Marksmanship Programs.

    On the artillery firing line, deep in the southern training areas at Fort Bragg, nine National Guard troops from North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Illinois and New Jersey stand ready and call out commands behind their weapons system.

    The students are attending the 13 Bravo artillery military occupational specialty (MOS) reclassification course and will learn how to be a crew member on the three main “tube” artillery weapons systems in the U.S. Army: The M119A3 105mm light towed howitzer, M777A2 155mm medium towed howitzer and the M109A6 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzer. Over the course of two days in the field, students will fire hundreds of rounds from all three weapons.
    The 139th is one of only four National Guard RTIs certified to have all three weapons.

    “The training has been great and I’ve learned a lot in just three-weeks and the weather is nicer here than in Florida right now,” said Sgt. Vincent Palazzolo, a Florida National Guardsman with the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “I was a wheeled vehicle mechanic when I joined the Guard and after about four years I wanted to change my MOS and try artillery because it’s more physical and exciting to me.”

    On Fort Bragg at the same time artillery reclassification courses are being conducted in the classroom and in the field, the 139th's Regional Training Site Maintenance facility (RTSM) is conducting a 91 Bravo Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic reclassification course for two active duty soldiers assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), stationed at Fort Bragg, and four National Guardsmen, two from West Virginia and two from North Carolina.

    In the RTSM maintenance bay students and instructors are hard at work doing “hands-on training”. Each student is given a document stating that a vehicle has multiple mechanical faults (fuel and coolant systems faults and other engine issues). They must trouble shoot and correct each fault and get the vehicle mission ready.

    “We train Soldiers to be force multipliers for the Total Army,” said Sgt.1st Class Scott Ringenbach, a RTSM instructor. “At the RTSM we train this 91 Bravo course four times a year with as many as 14 students per class. It’s a two phased training course, each being three-weeks long.

    Being located at one of the Army’s largest bases makes the 139th RTI an inexpensive alternative to sending soldiers across the country to get the same quality of training, and as the Army looks to cut training costs, the 139th RTI is seeing more and more active-duty soldiers attend its courses.

    “We have eight active-duty soldiers, half of the class, attending the artillery 13 Fox - Joint Fire Support Sergeant’s Advanced Leaders Course (ALC) right now,” said Master Sgt. Wayne Deans, a senior instructor with the 139th RTI. “We also conduct the Field Artillery Platoon Sergeant Senior Leader Course (SLC) for Guard and active duty soldiers.”

    The 139th plans on having quite a few active duty and U.S. Reserve soldiers attend the two-month 68 Whiskey Combat Medic MOS reclassification in March of 2018. There are three training phases in 68W reclassification course, but if a soldier already has their Emergency Medical Technician certification they can test out of phase one.

    Aside from the critical MOS and professional development training being conducted at the 139th RTI every week, there is the highly respected and demanding North Carolina Army National Guard Officer Candidate School.

    139th RTI’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) is 14-months long with three arduous phases. OCS typically enrolls 15-25 officer candidates in each class.

    “I have my own business and the experience from OCS carries over into my civilian career.” said 2nd Lt. Austin Tate, 139th RTI OCS Class 59’s Academic Graduate Award winner. “I’m getting ready to hire people and I’ll have people that I’ll be in charge of and the overwhelming experience I received here will be a big contributor to that.”

    North Carolina National Guard’s Officer Candidate School was established at Fort Bragg on December 19, 1957, and has commissioned over 1,780 officers.

    When asked why is this National Guard regional Training Institute so successful and able to do so much in one training year, Command Sgt. Major Elsa Gaver, the senior non-commissioned officer at the 139th RTI stated “The staff and faculty of the 139th have maintained an Institution of Excellence since 2011. This accomplishment is possible due to the entire staff spending countless off-duty hours preparing to instruct courses. The Soldiers assigned at the 139th are some of the best in the North Carolina Army National Guard and they constantly strive for
    excellence and expect the same from those around them."

    During an average year, the 139th RTI trains upwards of 2,000 Guard, U.S. Reserve and active duty Soldiers. This number includes training at RTSM, Camp Butner and OCS.



    Date Taken: 11.09.2017
    Date Posted: 11.09.2017 15:11
    Story ID: 254787
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US

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