NEWS | March 3, 2021

Kentucky Trainers mobilize, aid Tennessee Guard

By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Two trainers from the 238th Regional Training Institute, Kentucky Army National Guard went to Arnold Air Force Base to help train members of the 181st Field Artillery Regiment, Tennessee Army National Guard, for their upcoming deployment Jan. 10-28, 2021.

Sgt. 1st Class Paul England and Staff Sgt. Valis Smedley were the Kentucky trainers tasked to get nine Soldiers ready to deploy in a short amount of time. 

The Tennessee unit is set to deploy to several locations in the Middle East this spring. 

According to England, 13M Course Manager with the 238th RTI, the 181st needed a stand-up course for a 13M military occupational specialty (which is an Army Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS/HIMARS) crewmember) to re-class to meet mission for their deployment. They didn’t have enough 13M’s so they needed people to be able to re-class or volunteer. 

“We stood that class up in about a week, said England. “We had two Kentucky instructors including myself and Staff Sgt. Smedley and we went down and trained up nine Soldiers in a 13M skill set to prepare them for their deployment.”
This isn’t the first time the Mobile Training Team has done a mission like this but it definitely doesn’t happen often. To put together a training program like this and get it manned takes a lot of people being on the same page. 

“There was a lot of good communication between 238th and 181st to make sure that they knew our expectations of the equipment that we needed, to make sure that everyone has been trained to standard on the equipment, as well as good communication with their Troop Command to make sure that they have the availability for classrooms and real estate. High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) re-class takes a lot of training area to make sure that they're doing their practice fire missions, reload ammunition operations and overall full scheme operations for HIMARS.”

Despite the cold temperatures, the nearly three-week training course went off without a hitch.

“It was very cold… it wasn't as cold as South Dakota (when they were on mission there), but it was cold,” laughed England.

“The only issues that came up were issues with the air brakes freezing out. The students got some good hands-on training working through cold weather conditions. They worked on safely braking the brakes, doing a hydraulic warm-up to make sure it doesn’t freeze the hydraulic fluid in the lines and overall cold weather maintenance.”

Even with the cold air, the overall success of the training was met and they were able to get the nine Soldiers qualified and deployment ready.

“The training went very smoothly and was a great class,” said England. “We were able to use the 181st’s equipment with our instructors. They also provide a couple of instructors and then we used the 30th Troop Commands real estate; so all their motor pools and classrooms were used to coordinate everything, but they had all the equipment out there ready to rock, all the students showed up and went really smooth. To set everything up in a week to make sure all the equipment's there and functioning was kind of mind boggling how fast we made it happen.”