[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                          July 24, 2009
Training

National Guard aviation battalion 
joins Patriot Exercise

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Virginia and Maryland Soldiers and Airmen came to Fort McCoy to participate in exercise Global Patriot during their two-week extended combat training in July.   

Photo: Maryland National Guard Soldiers from the 1st, 158th Cavalry participate in Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction training at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Maj. Rick Breitenfeldt)
Maryland National Guard Soldiers from the 1st, 158th Cavalry participate in Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction training at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Maj. Rick Breitenfeldt)

The National Guard Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, with Soldiers from Virginia and Maryland, and Airmen of the 200th Weather Flight, assigned to the historic 29th Infantry Division, began arriving in Wisconsin as early as July 9 to begin preparation for the exercise.

"We are here to support an exercise called Global Patriot," said Capt. David Aaron Loy, assistant operations officer for the battalion. "This is a joint, international exercise. It is a very large exercise that encompasses Fort McCoy, Volk Airfield and also some components down in Louisiana."

Loy said the exercise is an Air Force-generated mission focusing a lot of attention on homeland defense training. While the battalion is at Fort McCoy, it also will focus its attention toward wartime mission-based training with the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade.

"The brigade is our higher headquarters," said Loy. "Within the brigade, they have two Apache units, us as the Blackhawks, they’ve got a MEDEVAC unit, they’ve got some Chinooks, they’ve got an infantry component and a brigade support battalion, so it’s a very large body with a lot of moving parts."

Loy explained how important the exercise is to the relationship between the battalion and the brigade by saying, "The reason we are training here with them is because they are who we are scheduled to go with on our next deployment."

Photo: Soldiers from the 2nd, 224th Aviation Regiment of Virginia assist Maryland National Guard Soldiers from C Troop, 1st, 158th Cavalry with special patrol insertion/extraction training. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen)
Soldiers from the 2nd, 224th Aviation Regiment of Virginia assist Maryland National Guard Soldiers from C Troop, 1st, 158th Cavalry with special patrol insertion/extraction training. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen)

"This is the first time we have really worked in detail with them," said Loy. "This is their first time working with us and our first time working with them."

In addition to the units within the brigade and the 200th Weather Flight, the Soldiers of the battalion will be working with components of the active-duty Army, Air Force, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Canada, according to Loy.

"This is a huge exercise with a lot of moving pieces and parts. It’s a major exercise," Loy said.

During the exercise, the Soldiers and Airmen will be focusing on their individual tasks, honing, and building on their specialized skills to complete the mission successfully.

"What we’re focusing on during our time here is individual MOSQ (military occupational specialty qualification) training. We’re conducting individual weapons qualification and crew-served qualification," said Loy. "We’re doing aviation training, door gunnery, flight training, driver training and Humvee roll-over training."

"We’ve got a lot packed into our week and a half here on the ground," he said. "This is a great opportunity for us to begin working with them again," said Lt. Col Jim Ring, battalion commander, during a welcome briefing to the Soldiers. "The things we’re doing this (exercise) are very similar to what you’re going to do on your next deployment."

In 2009, Patriot again went the extra mile to maximize training for all participants, incorporating combat ops and homeland defense scenarios.

To begin Patriot, two Chemical, Biological, Radioloioligical and Nuclear Emergency Response Forces conducted a Homeland Defense scenario involving a radiological event within the U.S.

The first week of the exercise focused on unit and individual training events. The second week included a multi-day combat scenario exercise with medical evaluations, combat convoy training, close air support, and time-sensitive targeting.

The scenario also helped the units work on tactical airlift/airdrops, joint combat search-and-rescue missions, helicopter air assaults, dissimilar air combat, airborne surveillance, and tactical communications integration.

 

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