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NEWS | Nov. 13, 2020

Colorado National Guard infantry trains for deployment

By Sgt. 1st Class Aleah M. Castrejon 104th Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP GUERNSEY, Wyo. – Colorado Army National Guard Soldiers with Company A, 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, trained in Guernsey, Wyoming, Oct. 15-25, preparing for a deployment.

While the company has been training over the past year, the Wyoming area gave the Soldiers a different advantage – terrain.

These Soldiers perform much of their training at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, and have come to know the areas so well it makes them complacent, said U.S. Army Capt. Brian S. Howard, commander, Company A, 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment. Guernsey ensured the Soldiers ran over hills and learned to find and take cover, as sparse as it was. The training plan conformed to the area.

The troops will soon head to the Middle East in support of U.S. Central Command.

The culminating event during the training challenged the Soldiers’ mental and physical fortitude as they assaulted an objective using live ammunition.

“Our decisive point for this week is … squad live-fire attack lanes,” Howard said. “The pre-mobilization training is imperative to their success.”

Given a mission, the teams moved to an objective using live fire, simulated live fires and attacks to clear an objective, Howard said. The Soldiers performed collective and individual tasks for the mobilization, with the focus on the teams learning how to maneuver together.

Throughout the training, Soldiers qualified on individual weapon systems, completed situational training exercise lanes that consisted of ambushes, and used blank and simulation ammunition in preparation for a culminating live-fire event.

While the exercise was a great tool to develop the team leaders, Howard said the value of the experience for the company and platoon leaders, and how they learned to interact with their troops, was equally as important.

“Strengthening leadership is really the underlying goal for the company command team,” Howard said.

U.S. Army Spc. Robert Elliott, infantryman, said the training was a learning experience in getting to know his team.

“Some of the Soldiers on the team have worked together for years, but some of the other Soldiers just started working together,” Elliot said. “So we have been learning (about) each other, each other’s habits, quirks, and figuring things out.”

Integrated into this exercise, subject matter experts from the U.S. Army’s 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Carson offered assistance to support the Soldiers with their infantry tactics.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kurt Taveras, senior operations adviser for team 2, 4th SFAB, said the SFAB provided advice and coached them with the infantry’s training plan.

With two advisers assigned to each squad, the SFAB provided consistent feedback, Taveras said.

“It made the National Guard squad team leaders and squad leaders more comfortable to come up to us and ask the questions they may not be comfortable asking in front of their Soldiers,” he said.

U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Malloy, team leader, 1-157th Infantry, said the training served as the culminating event for all the skills and training the unit has been working on the past year.

“You learn a ton, it’s definitely a great opportunity for all of us, and it’s really what you sign up to do,” Malloy said.

Soldiers bring unique aspects to their military positions through their civilian backgrounds and experience.

Elliot has been in the Army for six years and is working on his master’s degree in bioengineering. Some facets of his civilian life help make him a better Soldier.

“I am constantly working – on the civilian side – on problem-solving, and thinking through problems, and finding an effective plan for them,” he said.

When he runs into problems in the military, including his current training, Elliot said he finds that applying an analytical mindset helps get the job done.

Similarly, Malloy has a background in fitness and strength conditioning, which allows him to continue teaching others and helping other troops reach their goals.