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.
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.
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.
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.
“This is a new experience,” said Bishop, a native of Odessa, Texas.
“I’m all down for it. This is a great opportunity.”
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.
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.
“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.”
Czarnogursky said she is excited about employing her training in the stressful and austere conditions of the Mojave Desert.
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.
“I think NTC is going to be pretty smooth,” said Campbell, a native of Pittsburgh.
While at NTC, the soldiers will be supporting the 1st BCT with long-range fire support.
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.