FORT HOOD, Texas - The Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery, Task Force Pegasus Fires, have spent months preparing to go to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. <br /> They have gone through a number of training events to include taking part in Ironhorse Rampage, a field training exercise conducted to certify the essential tasks required prior to this NTC rotation.<br /> <br /> The battalion will be spending the next 30 days at NTC, or the “sandbox” as it is called by some soldiers, defending an imaginary U.S. ally during a hypothetical conflict.<br /> <br /> For some soldiers within the battalion such as Staff Sgt. William Bishop, a multiple launch rocket system section chief with Battery B, 2-20th FAR, this will be their first time going to NTC.<br /> <br /> “This is a new experience,” said Bishop, a native of Odessa, Texas. <br /> <br /> “I’m all down for it. This is a great opportunity.” <br /> <br /> Bishop said during his eight years of service, he has trained at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., many times but has never trained at NTC. <br /> <br /> Pfc. Melissa Czarnogursky, a multiple launch rocket system operations/fire direction specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Bn., 2-20th FAR, is another soldier going to NTC for the first time. <br /> <br /> “I’m excited to go to NTC,” said Czarnogursky, an East Rutherford, N.J., native. “It’s going to be a good training opportunity and my first taste of what a deployment would be like.” <br /> <br /> Czarnogursky said she is excited about employing her training in the stressful and austere conditions of the Mojave Desert. <br /> <br /> Spc. Rahjaunn Campbell, a multiple launch rocket system crew member with Battery B, recounts that for the last six months, his battery has been training in preparation for this culminating event with 1st BCT. <br /> <br /> “I think NTC is going to be pretty smooth,” said Campbell, a native of Pittsburgh. <br /> <br /> While at NTC, the soldiers will be supporting the 1st BCT with long-range fire support. <br /> <br /> The soldiers of 2-20th FAR have been told that once the exercise starts they can expect some rigorous training to include a lack of sleep, long convoys through rough terrain, and plenty of Meals Ready-to-Eat.