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    Texas National Guard maximizes Northern Strike 21; conducts validation exercise

    Dropping from the sky

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Tegan Kucera | Soldiers with the 294th Quartermaster Company, 338th Quartermaster Company, Texas Army...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. David Eichaker 

    Michigan National Guard

    GRAYLING, Mich.—Soldiers with the 36th Sustainment Brigade, Texas Army National Guard, seized upon an opportunity during Northern Strike 21 (NS 21) to get battle ready. The Texas Soldiers conducted their validation exercise (VALEX), which is used to validate and certify proficiencies needed for contingency operations. NS is one of the National Guard’s largest joint training exercise, which is located in northern Michigan at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, in concert with the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.

    First Army mobilized to Camp Grayling for the first time in order to support the pre-mobilization validation during the exercise, reducing post-mobilization requirements for the 36th SUS BDE by ten days. The unit was evaluated on six Mission Essential Tasks (METs) focused on expeditionary operations, to include railhead operations, sea port embarkation and debarkation activities for redeployment, and validate and certify an early-entry command post (EECP), while conducting theater level sustainment operations during the exercise.

    “Northern Strike has provided us a realistic training opportunity during our VALEX,” said U.S. Army Col. Carrie Perez, commander of the 36th Sustainment Brigade, 36th Infantry Division. “We’ve been able to integrate with about 3,700 Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and our international partners, to include the 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of the Iowa National Guard, and other subordinate units operate in full brigade capacity.”

    Northern Strike fills joint all-domain training and task iteration gaps in both the Army and Air National Guard training strategies, sustaining and enhancing reserve component proficiency and readiness. This year’s exercise provided sustainment formations the opportunity to train and test their ability to rapidly deploy, set the theater, re-sustain, and provide timely support in a decisive action environment. The training offered members with the Texas National Guard an opportunity to learn best practices as commanders worked to solve complex problems and determine best practices.

    “We’ve had training scenarios that covered many different capabilities and joint operational missions to discover what works well and what does not,” said Perez.

    The entire warfighting force depends on sustainment formations to provide critical, synchronized support for decisive action in the areas of force projection, force reception, onward movement, distribution management, and material management.

    The 36th Sustainment Brigade successfully executed a heavy airdrop re-sustainment operation during NS21, which provided the brigade the opportunity to rig, load, air-drop, and recover Humvees deployed from other locations. The operation necessitated two C-130 Hercules aircraft from the 182nd Air Wing, Illinois Air National Guard, providing simulated intra-theater airlift for Northern Strike. Additionally, the 294th Quartermaster Company from the Texas Army National Guard conducted rigging of two M1097 Humvees. To determine if the Humvees were still viable after the flight, they were driven from the drop zone by the 1836th Transportation Company, based in El Paso, Texas.

    Throughout the state, the Michigan Army National Guard facilities consist of 41 readiness centers, 9 maintenance facilities, 4 aviation facilities, and training installations which have the ability to accurately simulate and replicate anticipated enemy capabilities, making it ideal for units across the country to come to Michigan to train.

    The National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC) encompasses the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. Camp Grayling offers more than 148,000 of acres of state-owned training space that includes 482 miles of training trails, ranges, lakes, rivers and an impact area that can sustain up to 500 pound bombs. To compliment land training, the NADWC has more than 17,000 square miles of special use airspace offering that includes supersonic airspace, unique littoral topography and a vast overland joint fires range with all-altitude ordnance capability.

    “We’ve discovered that Camp Grayling has great maneuver space and flexibility by participating in Northern Strike,” said Army Lt. Col. Kathy McKay, commander of the 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Iowa Army National Guard. “There has definitely been value added to our organization by having a brigade element serve here during annual training.”



    Date Taken: 09.14.2021
    Date Posted: 09.14.2021 07:02
    Story ID: 405145
    Location: GRAYLING, MI, US 

    Web Views: 188
    Downloads: 1