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February 24, 2012

Training

181st Infantry Brigade now a ‘remote training brigade’

Soldiers from the 181st Infantry Brigade continue to support training requirements for deploying units off post, while meeting their unit training requirements and supporting selected installation training at Fort McCoy. The unit conducted mobilization training at Fort McCoy, a mission that ended in December with the reorganization of the mobilization mission training sites.
PHOTO: Noncommissioned officers from 1st Battalion, 310th Infantry conduct familiarization training on the M2 .50-caliber machine gun. File photo
Noncommissioned officers from 1st Battalion, 310th Infantry conduct familiarization training on the M2 .50-caliber machine gun at a Fort McCoy range. (File photo)

Col. Rick Angeli, 181st commander, said although providing post-mobilization training to overseas deployment expeditionary forces (DEF) remains the unit’s training priority, the focus is shifting to developing and providing training for contingency expeditionary force units not identified for overseas deployment.

“The mission still will focus on training National Guard and Reserve Soldiers,” Angeli said. “All that will really change is where we conduct the training. We are now what you would call a ‘remote training brigade;’ we can export our training capability anywhere within the Continental United States.”

Angeli said the 181st’s deployment mission will change as the Army has transitioned from its Iraq mission to its Afghanistan mission from one of providing combat troops to providing security forces assistance teams (SFATs).

SFATs, which are similar to a military transition team and the services it would provide, are used to provide Soldiers, who are subject-matter experts, to support specific needs for training, administrative, logistics, and, in some instances, intelligence, to meet both military and governmental requirements.

A select team of personnel was chosen from the 181st to support this mission in Afghanistan, he said. This team is scheduled to train at Fort Lewis, Wash., and then receive advanced training at Fort Polk, La., before deploying.

After the mission is completed, the Soldiers will return to train other Soldiers, including reserve-component troops, about the mission, and also share their knowledge throughout the First Army command, he said.

The 181st will continue to support mobilization training at the enduring Mobilization Training Centers within the First Army’s area of responsibility throughout the transition of the deployment requirements, he said.

When the 181st Soldiers are at Fort McCoy, they will continuously refine their skills to provide first-class training support, Angeli said. The 181st includes two active-duty battalions, the 1st of the 310th Infantry, and the 3rd of the 340th.

Reserve-component organizations aligned with the 181st include the 1st Battalion, 338th Regiment, Training Support (Combat Support/Combat Services Support); the 2nd Battalion, 411th Infantry Regiment; the 1st Battalion, 340th Infantry Regiment, Training Support (Combat Support/Combat Services Support), and the 3rd Battalion, 335th Infantry Regiment, Training Support (Combat Support/Combat Services Support).

In addition to conducting its own training at Fort McCoy, the 181st will provide observer-controller-trainers to support two Combat Support Training Exercises and a Warrior Exercise at the installation this summer.

Angeli said the unit also has been tasked to provide the same type of support to those exercises in 2013.

“I’m a very strong advocate of training at Fort McCoy,” Angeli said. “We have all the assets and resources any battalion-sized unit would need to train here. And, if units train here, we can support their training more economically because we don’t have to pay travel expenses.”

Soldiers from the 181st also will support training for a Georgia Army National Guard Infantry Combat Team at Camp Ripley, Minn., and for DEF training at Forts Bliss and Hood in Texas this year.

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