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    Rounds of Gratitude

    Thanksgiving day training at the range

    Photo By Sgt. Khylee Woodford | Michigan Army National Guard Capt. Matthew Knox fires from an M4 during a training...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Khylee Woodford 

    Area Support Group - Kuwait

    CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - This Thanksgiving looked different for a group of service members assigned to Area Support Group - Kuwait. Arriving in a CH-47 Chinook, members from Camp Buehring's Force Protection team met for a joint force training event at the Udairi Range Complex, November 26, 2020.

    According to Colorado Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Zukowski, the range safety and event facilitator said the volunteer training coincidentally fell on a holiday; however, it gave the team something to be thankful for.

    "The intent was to get together all the units that are closely involved," said Zukowski. "Ultimately enhancing the base force protection plan to build better relationships with the people you work with and improve how we work together."

    With the training event falling on Thanksgiving, participation was left up to Soldiers and their units. Zukowski said he was grateful to see the high level of attendance and participation across each component.

    "To be honest I assumed I wouldn't get that many volunteers," said Zukowski. "I was very surprised at how many people volunteered. Soldiers want to be home and with their families, but they came out here and gave 110 percent. It was great to see this kind of participation across the board."

    The training also included Missouri Army National Guard's 1139th Military Police Company, Michigan Army National Guard's 745th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company out of Camp Grayling, Mich., and U.S. Army and Navy military working dog handlers.

    U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, Michael Vandergriff, a military working dog handler assigned to ASG-KU at Camp Buehring, brought his military working dog to the training.

    "We all come from different parts of the military," said Vandergriff. "It was nice to work with other branches to get some different perspectives on training, seeing how the Army does things."

    Vandergriff, a Master-at-Arms deployed as an individual augmentee from the Naval Weapons Station in New Jersey, said the combat training environment helped reinforce a K-9 handler's skill sets.

    "Here, we were able to get comfortable with our weapons systems, movements, getting our dogs accustomed to flying in these types of scenarios so it feels more comfortable in the future if we are forward deployed,” said Vandergriff.

    The training included: combat pistol and rifle drills, live-fire team movement, complex weapons transitions, and a culminating team confidence course.

    Michigan Army National Guard Capt. Matthew Knox, officer in charge with the 745th Explosive Ordnance Disposal company located in Grayling, Mich., said the training also yielded great benefits for his team.

    "It was a great opportunity to get the guys out on the range, get them more familiar with transitions on both weapons systems," said Knox.

    Implementing smoke grenades and M84 stun grenades during the shooting drills gave the training more of a combat-like scenario, a strategic benefit toward improving perishable skills for the force protection team, said Knox.

    "The training built us all up as a force in general," said Knox. "The more exercises we do with the MP's and the dog handlers, the more we are coming closer as a group. If we do have an emergency response on base, this is who would show up.”

    The event was part of Phase 2 of an ongoing combined weapons training led by the 220th and 1139th military police stationed on Camp Buehring, a joint force training that was well enjoyed on the holiday of thanks.

    "Being here with our military family for range exercises makes us stronger in general," said Knox. "In the Guard, we don't always have the opportunity to train in this kind of environment... training's like today's is sought out after as it benefits us all in the overall mission of keeping Camp Buehring safe."

    The CH-47 Chinook helicopter was piloted by members of the Michigan & Ohio Army National Guard from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation Battalion, 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade.



    Date Taken: 11.26.2020
    Date Posted: 12.05.2020 13:09
    Story ID: 384299
    Location: CAMP ARIFJAN, KW 

    Web Views: 553
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