FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. - Fort Indiantown Gap, run by the Pennsylvania National Guard and Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, finished first out of 48 National Guard training centers located throughout the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico with the most training mandays for fiscal year 2018.
This marks the third year that the installation has been the busiest National Guard training center in the nation. For fiscal year 2017 the installation was the busiest Army National Guard training center.
The installation trained more than 150,000 service members, federal, state, local and international personnel, and had more than 860,000 mandays. A manday is equal to one person training for one day. To illustrate, one person training on the installation for 14 days would be equal to 14 mandays, whereas two people training on the installation for 14 days would be equal to 28 mandays.
Garrison commander Lt. Col. Lane Marshall reflected on the busy year. "Once again we've proven that Fort Indiantown Gap has what it takes to be the busiest in the nation. A huge thank you to all of the staff that makes this possible."
Among the installations' achievements were: facilitating a large conservation easement using the Army Compatible Use Buffer program, holding the 2018 Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition, launching the 2018 AlertPA system, to better inform neighbors, breaking ground on a new training support center building and receiving a prestigious safety certification at its flight facility.
Training and Range Operations
At the core of the installation's function as a training installation is its range operations including the simulations and range complex. All personnel training here must complete training request forms and coordinate for training areas which fall under range operations under the Department of Plans, Operations, Training and Simulations (DPOTS) continued to develop new ranges to better train service members.
The directorate completed several new initiatives to better train service members. These projects included: adding an Operator Driving Simulator , as well as breaking ground on the new Training Support Center Building, hosting the Pennsylvania Best Warrior Competition, as well as the 2018 Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition.
Finally, the section had an opportunity to participate in a range exchange program with the Pennsylvania National Guard's partner, Lithuania.
The logistics section, which manages the post warehouse, ammunition supply point, billeting and supply and services, as well as the installation property book, was busy supporting the training.
"The property book section, in conjunction with the training aids support center, undertook a massive task by initiating a 100% inventory of an additional $500 million of equipment. This property included not only equipment located on site at and at numerous sites throughout Pennsylvania, but newly assigned equipment from Maryland and West Virginia," said Lt. Col. Alan McCord, the installation's logistics officer.
Additionally, the section supported troops by providing barracks to training units and more than 56,000 transient quarters during the year.
The ammunition supply point welcomed a new supervisor, Warrant Officer 1 Kaitlyn Beck, and assisted in recycling more than 75,000 pounds of brass.
Moral, welfare and recreation
This year Fort Indiantown Gap hosted trial camps for men's volleyball and women's softball.
"The All Army Sports program had a really good year this past year," said Josh Evans, Lead Recreation Aide. "Both teams that trained at Fort Indiantown Gap this year went to very competitive Armed Forces Tournaments and came home with the silver medal."
"We are very happy to host the All Army Sports programs here at Fort Indiantown Gap and are thrilled when they have successes at the Armed Forces Tournaments."
"The last year was another productive year for our police force. We noticed a decrease in traffic violations. We wish to thank our employees and neighbors for paying closer attention to the speed limits and traffic control devices on the installations. Speed reduction provides a safer environment for our Soldiers and others using the installation," said Chief Jon Worley
The Fort Indiantown Gap Police Force provided support, security and law enforcement for more than 3,800 incidents in the last year. The police force patrols approximately 50 square miles, 724 buildings, 61 miles of paved roads, and 121 miles of trails.
The installation police wish to remind all that the officers use in car camera systems and wear body cameras. These systems provide protection to the officers and those they interact with.
Fort Indiantown Gap Fire and Emergency Services responded to 518 incidents during fiscal year 2018. Those incidents included airfield, structural, wildland, hazardous materials and emergency medical.
Fort Indiantown Gap Fire and Emergency Services participated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Voluntary Fire Fighter Certification Program with 100% of personnel certified. Approximately one percent of fire departments in Pennsylvania have reached this level.
"I am very proud of the hard work of the members of the Department in achieving this accomplishment," said Chief Donald Wilson.
Additionally, Fort Indiantown Gap Fire and Emergency Services thru Lebanon County EMA is carrying Naloxone on all apparatus that is licensed thru the Pennsylvania Bureau of EMS.
Public affairs and community outreach
Deputy Base Operations Manager David Weisnicht continued to spearhead the installation's Army Compatible Use Buffer program. The program is intended to help facilitate land preservation efforts in order to alleviate encroachment on the installation. This year marked one of the largest conservation actions ever using the program.
The installation's public affairs office launched a new community resource using the AlertPA platform to better inform the installation's neighbors.
"We opted to participate in the AlertPA system as another means to help notify our community members of upcoming events that may impact them," said Lt. Col. Angela King-Sweigart, Pennsylvania National Guard state public affairs officer, "members of the public can now receive both text message and email notifications."
The office continued to supports the installation with an active Facebook page, community information line, FLICKR page, and DVIDS news service, as well as responding to more than 100 public inquiries.
Additionally, Fort Indiantown Gap continues to host or allow facilities use for a variety of events for local and civic organizations. Events included: the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce's annual breakfast, a tenant organizations meeting, the annual March for the Fallen the annual regal fritillary butterfly tours, annual tree lighting ceremony, the rededication of a World War II monument located here, and an education event for Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs employees.
The installation continues to lead the nation with various programs run by state employees with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs as well as members of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
In addition to assisting with the, Army Compatible Use Buffer Program, the employees won the 2018 Secretary of the Army Natural Resources Conservation Team Award .
The forestry department assisted in organizing a spotted lantern fly education event.
Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Center
The Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Center had another busy year. The facility supported multiple joint training events like water bucket training as well as hosted an aviator from the Royal Jordanian Air Force .
Soldiers assigned to the organization also took top honors in the Adjutant General's Combined Arms Match.
The installation hosted a variety of visitors in 2018 including: National Guard Bureau Chief, U.S. Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Lithuania's Vice Minister of Defense, and the Commander of the American Legion.