NEWS | Aug. 4, 2021

Kentucky Guardsmen cross state lines for Operation Patriot Press

By Jessica Elbouab 133rd MPAD

Over sixty Kentucky National Guard Soldiers with the 2113th Transportation Company traveled more than 2,200 miles between five states to transport thousands of pounds of explosive ordnance as part of their annual training June 2-10.

The unit safely transported the 625,000 pounds of explosive ordinance between Paducah Ky., the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP) in McAlester, Ok., and the Naval Support Activity (NSA) in Crane, In., during Operation Patriot Press.

Operation Patriot Press is an Army Materiel Command initiative that links National Guard units to real-world missions for annual training. Army National Guard and reserve units and various affiliates from across the country work together to complete the exercise and improve the readiness state over all for our guard and reserve components.

This year’s annual training involved twenty new soldiers that joined the ranks in recent months. This was their first time experiencing a mission of this magnitude and will provided career expertise that will be valuable for years to come.

“Soldiers were extremely motivated and dedicated to mission success overall,” said Capt. Michael Owen, the 2113th company commander. “This is far more noteworthy given several challenges and hardships with the passing of several individuals and prior service Soldiers very close to the 2113th family during annual training.”

In the days leading up to the mission there were required route changes due to various state Department of Transportation conflicts. There many restrictions involved in transporting sensitive items, such as ammunition, across state lines to included weight limitations. These divergences required the unit to reevaluate and reconfigure the initial plan to ensure the mission carried on as intended.

“Ultimately we were able to make weight and readjust to our original plan,” said Owen. “The service we provided saved the Army an estimated $150M in contractor costs alone.”

With Covid-19 still heavily weighing on the organization in June of 2021, it was unclear if the mission would continue. All those participating had to adapt and work together while considering the guidelines and safety measures that have been put in place because of the pandemic.

The ammunition transportation element was only one task the unit covered as a part of their training. Upon completion of Operation Patriot Press, the unit returned to Wendel H. Ford Reginal Training Center to complete drivers training, maintenance operations, and various Army Warrior Tasks.

The unit completed this year’s annual training with a 72-hour force-on-force field training exercise, closely mimicking the conditions and operational environment that might be encountered by logisticians who find themselves responsible for their own security on a modern battlefield per Owens’ commander assessment.

“Our Soldiers performed well and proved themselves once again up to the task of undertaking such a high tempo operation,” said Owen. “All those involved have done not only a great service to the taxpayer but did so while increasing their technical and tactical competence, and of that I am quite proud.”