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NEWS | June 6, 2024

Wisconsin National Guard Brigade Begins Major Training Exercise

By Staff Sgt. Katie Volkman, Wisconsin National Guard

FORT JOHNSON, La.  –  More than 5,000 Soldiers from across the United States, along with support elements from Canada, have arrived at the Joint Readiness Training Center for a month-long training exercise led by the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Training exercises at the JRTC allow brigade combat teams to experience simulated large-scale combat operations. The National Guard has few such opportunities, with only two rotations each year set aside for National Guard brigade combat teams.

Col. Matthew Elder, 32nd IBCT commander, said it is important to make the most of these multi-echelon training events.

“For Guard units specifically, this is what we call a generational training opportunity,” Elder said. “As the Army transitions from the global war on terror and trains to build readiness towards large-scale combat, that’s how we need to be prepared to fight in the future.”

Though troops will be at the JRTC for about a month, the main training exercise takes place over two weeks. It includes live fire exercises and simulated force-on-force engagements that will test the 32nd IBCT and its enablers from other states and countries.

Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron Johnson, the 32nd IBCT senior enlisted leader, emphasized that it takes a team effort, with good communication and collaboration, to accomplish an exercise of this size.

“As the main BCT of this exercise, the 32nd is the headliner, but any success we have here can be attributed to those across the National Guard,” Johnson said, “from the highest levels of leadership to the individuals from all 24 states who came here to support this exercise.”

The JRTC and Fort Johnson prepare multi-component units and Soldiers for combat. Due to operational requirements and the size of the force, the Army depends on the National Guard and Reserve components to complete its missions around the world. Training sustains the Total Army force’s readiness while reassuring the nation’s allies and deterring potential adversaries. The JRTC forges alliances and partnerships and provides a lethal force that is ready to fight today and in the future.



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