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November 09, 2012


181st Infantry Brigade

(Editor’s note: “SPOTLIGHT” is a continuing series about tenant activities and missions at Fort McCoy.)

What is it?
The 181st Infantry Brigade (INF Bde) is comprised of active- and reserve-component Soldiers and serves as the trainers for military exercises and mobilization training. The brigade is one of nine training brigades subordinate to First Army Division West, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas.
PHOTO: The 779th Engineer Battalion’s 2nd Platoon of Florida protects an entry-control point during Warrior Exercise training. File photo
The 779th Engineer Battalion’s 2nd Platoon of Florida protects an entry-control point during Warrior Exercise training in June. Observer-Controller Trainers from the 181st Infantry Brigade at Fort McCoy supported the exercise, which presented realistic and challenging scenario-based training for more than 4,000 Soldiers and their units preparing for deployment.
(File photo)

Prior to being reflagged Dec. 1, 2006 as the 181st INF Bde, First Army Division West, the unit was known as the 2nd Brigade, 85th Division Eagle Brigade. The brigade has been a tenant activity at Fort McCoy since October 1993.

The 181st has command and control over two active-component and four reserve-component units located at Fort Snelling, Minn., Fort Sheridan, Ill., and Fort McCoy.

The 181st INF Bde trains Army Reserve and National Guard units in support of the Army Force Generation process, principally the Train and Ready phases for operational deployment.

This Contingency Expeditionary Force (Apportioned Forces) training focuses on leader and collective skills.

Although Fort McCoy does not have a current mobilization mission, the 181st continues to support mobilization training as mobile trainers at mobilization training centers throughout First Army.

The Brigade currently has personnel in Afghanistan serving as Security Forces Assistance Teams (SFATs) that train Afghan National Security units to conduct security operations. Another 181st INF Bde SFAT team will train for three months at Fort Hood, Texas, and then at Fort Polk, La., preparing for deployment to Afghanistan within the next year.

The team will spend up to nine months overseas.

What have they done?
Within the last eight months, the 181st INF Bde completed three Exportable Combat Training Center (xCTC) exercises; two exercises were conducted at Camp Blanding, Fla., and one at Camp Ripley, Minn., supporting the 48th INF Bde of the Georgia National Guard.

The 181st INF Bde also supplied Observer Controllers to support two Combat Support Training Exercises (CSTX) and one Warrior Exercise (WAREX) at Fort McCoy in support of the 78th Training Division (TD) based out of Fort Dix, N.J.

During these exercises, the 181st INF Bde evaluated the training of nearly 8,700 Soldiers.

What do they have planned?
The 181st INF Bde’s training is set until fiscal year 2014.

The brigade will conduct a WAREX with the 78th TD at Fort McCoy in May 2013; two xCTCs in June supporting two National Guard units in Idaho; an xCTC with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Wisconsin National Guard at Fort McCoy; a WAREX and a CSTX supporting the 86th TD during July and August at Fort McCoy; and support of the 48th INF Bde in September at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.

The training cycle will begin again in March 2014 with the same types of exercises.

Why are they important?
The 181st INF Bde provides a resident-expert capability to units that train at Fort McCoy. Its participation in the training exercises determines the unit readiness of Guard and reserve-component forces. This training is a valuable tool because it decreases the time deploying units normally would spend at mobilization stations.

Upon completion of the SFATs mission in Afghanistan, future training exercises will be improved through their experiences, by leveraging experiences in country. The training is based on current conditions and will better prepare the units for future deployments.

For more information about the 181st INF Bde, call 608-388-3344 (no voicemail or answering service) or visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/pages/181st-Infantry-Brigade/362775906517.

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