[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                               November 28, 2008
Training

Illinois unit begins predeployment cycle

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy

Personnel from an Illinois Army Reserve chemical company used the first week of a split extended combat training/premobilization training at Fort McCoy to become qualified in several weapons systems and conduct Soldier warrior task training.

Photo: Soldiers from the 342nd Chemical Company fire M-203 grenade launchers at a Fort McCoy range during training. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Soldiers from the 342nd Chemical Company fire M-203 grenade launchers at a Fort McCoy range during training. 
(Photo by Rob Schuette)

The 342nd Chemical Company, which is headquartered in Urbana, Ill., is preparing for a stateside homeland security defense mission, said Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Smith, an Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) Soldier with the unitís Biological Integrated Detection System (BIDS) branch.

"Weíre concentrating on weapon firing this week," Smith said. "We qualified on the M-16 rifles, and also will be shooting the M-249 (machine guns) and M-203 grenade launchers."

Staff Sgt. Antonio Preston, also an AGR Soldier with the BIDS branch, Detachment 3 in Chicago, said the unit scheduled the training at this time to take advantage of some of the Soldiers attending college and others being able to get a week off at this time.

Photo: Soldiers from the 342th Chemical Company fire machine guns on a Fort McCoy range. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Soldiers from the 342th Chemical Company fire machine guns on a Fort McCoy range. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

"This week of training is helping to build unit cohesion," Preston said. "The training also included activities at the Confidence/Conditioning Courses and the Army Physical Fitness Test, which helped to build strength. "The training also is a prelude to future training, where the unit will continue to prepare for its stateside deployment, he said. The 342nd has a rapid, ready, response unit, which works closely with its civilian counterparts in the police and fire departments to respond to incidents.

Preston said the unit has trained with these types of personnel during scenarios in Madison and Chicago in the past. "We are training to prepare to carry out the unitís motto, ĎA giant leap to detect to protect,í" he said.

 

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