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Minnesota National Guard
Leader training prepares 1ABCT soldiers for NTC rotation

Leadership Training Program FORT IRWIN, Calif. - Nearly 200 Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, arrived at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, Feb. 16, 2016, to conduct the Leadership Training Program in anticipation of its National Training Center rotation here in June.

The LTP, an eight-day exercise that provides brigade staff one final opportunity to work through the Military Decision Making Process to plan for large-scale, decisive action operations, brings together select staff from the eight battalions and six enabling units to streamline staff planning and synchronization.

"Our team for NTC is comprised of units from 18 different states, and this is the first time we've been able to come together since being notified," said Col. Robert Intress, 1/34th ABCT commander. "This training gives our teams an opportunity to know what the NTC rotation will look like.

"Nearly 7,000 Soldiers will arrive here in June and go straight to the Rotational Unit Bivouac Area - all trying to get their stuff done before we begin - and it's going to be chaos."

During their time at LTP, leaders from each of the staff sections are coached by full-time trainers with the National Training Center to fully understand the expectations, constraints and challenges to be experienced during their time in "the box," the term used to reference the vast expanse of desert the brigade will occupy during its war-game against an opposition force. With only three months - the equivalent of six actual training days for National Guard and Reserve units - before their rotation, Soldiers here representing their entire sections back in Minnesota are making the most of the opportunity.

"In 10 minutes with my coach I got more information than I ever thought I would get," said Capt. Richard Green, fire direction officer for the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery. "This will answer a lot of questions for the guys that weren't able to make it out for the LTP."

During the NTC rotation, staff sections will be coordinating combat, sustainment and information operations for a force of nearly 7,000 Soldiers and 1,500 pieces of equipment while maneuvering in a piece of desert roughly the size of Rhode Island. If the logistics of that alone weren't enough, the brigade will square off against a modern enemy opposition force that knows the terrain, and has the ability to blend in with the local population and capability to deploy nonconventional weapons - including chemical agents. Also playing into the scenario will be hundreds of role playing noncombatants, occupying at least seven mock villages.

"Since a lot of Soldiers participating in NTC don't know what to expect, we can take the lessons at LTP back home to make sure our time in the box is a success," said Green.

February 19, 2016
by Staff Sgt. Patrick Loch
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs



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