Active, Guard Units Partner for XCTC
Staff Sgt. Scott Tynes, 102nd Public Affairs Detachment
CAMP SHELBY –
More than 4,600 National Guard, Active and Reserve component Soldiers descended on Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center from July 19 to Aug. 18 for an Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise to employ the Army's Total Force concept.
"An XCTC is a brigade field training exercise, which aims to certify platoon proficiency in coordination with First Army. The training exposes Guard Soldiers to combat training center experiences to enhance unit combat readiness," said Col. Jeffrey Van, commander of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team.
During the exercise, the 155th ABCT encountered tests on their response to ambushes, company hasty attacks, platoon movement to contact, recon missions, vehicle recovery and much more. The event includes a combined arms live fire featuring M1A2 SEPv2 tanks, M2A3/M3A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and field artillery with fixed and rotary wing air support.
XCTC exercises allow Soldiers and units to strengthen their individual and collective combat readiness, Van said. They also serve as opportunities to "train as you fight." All Army components work together toward mission accomplishment in combat environments.
"It has opened the relationship to share techniques, tactics and procedures among the units," Van said. "The Guard, Reserve and Active have come together as a common element during this exercise."
Approximately 500 active-duty Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, from Ft. Hood, Texas, lead the Greywolf units participating in the joint XCTC training rotation and includes the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment; 6th Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment; and 3rd Engineer Battalion. The augmenting units bring more than 300 additional Soldiers to Mississippi. These Active duty Soldiers are serving as opposing forces for the 155th ABCT during the exercise as well as establishing training lanes to teach tactics and procedures learned during their recent National Training Center rotation.
Following the XCTC, the units will complete the Multi-echelon integrated Brigade Training Exercise (MBTE), an exercise that puts a magnifying glass over the companies to evaluate how they operate, at Fort Hood, Texas, next year.
The two field training exercises allow valuable home station training, which gives both units a wide range of diverse training objectives while simultaneously minimizing costs. Upon completion, the units will then head to NTC at Fort Irwin, Calif., which tests the participating units all the way through brigade level.
During the exercise, the 1-12 Cav "Chargers" will be operating within the 155th ABCT as a supporting unit throughout their missions, building the partnership to a point where the units can coexist and work fluidly together.
Observer controllers evaluate both the 155th ABCT and 1-12 CAV as they conduct their missions and complete their training objectives. After everything is over, the observers will perform multiple after action reviews that will give input on how the units went about accomplishing their tasks, and provide insight on how to improve.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for both units to operate together in a stressful, yet safe environment; we are mutually building capacity," said Col. Matthew Van Wagenen, 3rd ABCT commander. "While we cannot predict when we will need to answer our nation's call to action, exercises like this XCTC help ensure we are ready to work alongside one another as a fully-integrated, effective and lethal force."
Mississippi National Guard photos by Army Spc. Brittany Anderson, 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team/Released