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Oregon Army National Guard completes 12 days conducting live-fire wargames in Mojave Desert


More than 500 Soldiers of the Oregon Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 116th Calvary Regiment (3-116th Combined Arms), and the 1186th Military Police Company (1186th MP), spent 12 days conducting live-fire exercises and large-scale simulated battle scenarios at the National Training Center (NTC), in the Mojave Desert at Fort Irwin, Calif., August 14-25, 2015.

The Oregon units augmented the Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team (CBCT) during the first Decisive Action operation, known as "force-on-force," integrated combat and maneuver training cycle the Army National Guard has completed since the beginning of the Global War on Terror. More than 5,200 Service Members from 10 states' National Guard units, as well as U.S. Army Reserve and active duty U.S. Army components, participated in the training.

"The purpose of this NTC rotation is to allow the brigade to advance its collective training skillsets and our proficiencies as a brigade combat team," said Idaho Army National Guard Col. Russell Johnson, commander of the 116th CBCT. "We rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to take all 4,000-plus Soldiers out and train together at one time. The National Training Center is one of those rare resources in today's Army that allows us the opportunity to do that."

The training was designed to simulate an expeditionary deployment experience and increase war-fighting capabilities. The 116th CBCT used Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Apache helicopters provided by the Idaho Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 183rd Attack Reconnaissance (1-183rd ARB), to conduct simulated battles against the U.S. Army's 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR).

The Director of the Army National Guard, Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, said that NTC training ensures combat units in the National Guard achieve the readiness levels required by the Army in order to meet the nation's demands.

"The National Guard is part of the total Army force and we have combat formations within our team ... so it's important that we give these organizations the opportunity to come out and go against world-class OPFOR [opposing forces] to grow and train," said Kadavy.

Oregon's 3-116th Battalion successfully conducted three running battles and retained the ability to continue projecting effective combat power during the training. The battalion defeated more than double its weight in opposing force combat troops, armor and equipment.

"It was an extremely challenging environment and a very difficult standard and the Soldiers did exceptionally well," said Oregon Army National Guard Lt. Col. Brian Dean, commander of the 3-116th Battalion.

The 3-116th Battalion consists of Citizen-Soldiers from seven Eastern Oregon cities and was the first National Guard battalion in the nation certified on the new M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) and the Abrams M1A2 SEPv2 main battle tank. The battalion spent four years training on the new equipment and preparing for NTC.

"This marks the end of a lot of sacrifice for Soldiers, families and employers," said Dean. "I want to thank the families. I understand that it is sacrifice for them. And to the employers, without them being willing to give up their hard working Soldiers, we wouldn't be able to do this."

The 1186th MP Company is based in Salem, Oregon, with a detachment in Milton-Freewater. The military police Soldiers contributed to the training as a combat service and support unit.