South Carolina National Guard


Hometown: Columbia, SC, US

South Carolina National Guard
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Hikers saved by South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team

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Hikers saved by South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team Hikers saved by South Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue...
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South Carolina National Guard trains hard at Fort Stewart, Ga.


Story by Sgt. Brad Mincey

1-118th Infantry Battalion trains during AT FORT STEWART, GA. -- Nearly 400 infantry Soldiers and those who support them from the South Carolina National Guard’s 1-118th Infantry Battalion spent nearly two weeks trudging through fields and forests here conducting squad-level exercises during their annual training. The Soldiers conducted a variety training ranging from movement, shooting, throwing grenades and firing mortars June 13-27.

"During the year when we drill, we work on a lot of individual skills. Annual training is where we work on collective skills," said Lt. Col. Edward Cloyd, commander 1-118th Inf. Bn. "Those are skills that are perishable, and if you don't do them continuously you lose your proficiency."

Another reason the battalion conducts this type of training is because they constantly have Soldiers moving up in rank and position, so new Soldiers have to be constantly trained to step up as leaders and fill the empty positions.

"A lot of the Soldiers have been through much of this training in the past, but last time they were listening and following orders, this time they may be the ones giving the orders," said Cloyd. "If you don't do it routinely, you won't be able to do it when you're deployed."

The training is a yearly event that helps prepare the Soldiers for an array of State and National missions. Although most of the training involved the use or incorporation of weapons, leadership and tactical maneuvering, much of the training is just as useful during stateside missions and emergencies where weapons are not needed.

"When you come to the field, you are working on deployment, communications and command and control," said Cloyd. "You have a headquarters that has to be able to talk to all of the supporting elements and it has to be able to move them around to all the right places with all the right stuff. And that is really what a hurricane response is. Getting there and helping the public is part of our job."

The infantrymen conducted numerous tasks and completed day and night operations during the course of the annual training. One of the more exciting events for many of the Soldiers was throwing live hand grenades at a variety of targets.

"The reason we do this is to make sure Soldiers maintain their skills and make sure they are ready to utilize their skills if called upon," said Sgt. Jeremy Argabright, Company B, 1-118th Inf. Reg. "We don't get the opportunity to do this a lot during regular drill weekends so the guys are really excited and very motivated to use the live grenades and hone these skills in."

"The Soldiers attitudes have been great," said Cloyd. "It's difficult to train day and night working sometimes 16 hours a day in heat that is over 100 degrees. They are having challenges and adversities every day and they’ve overcome them."

Once the training wraps up, Soldiers have the opportunity to compete in a Best Squad competition.

"It is a great event," said Cloyd. "The companies get challenged to send their best squads who compete against each other. We did this last year and we wanted to do it again this year. It is a great event after everyone has worked so hard. The winning squad is awarded a trophy and the unit gets a banner to hang up in their armory, along with some bragging rights."

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