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NEWS | June 22, 2023

1-149th Infantry get back to basics at their annual training

By Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Crane and Spc. Kaitlyn Day-Walton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

After spending the past year in Kosovo and Africa, Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, known as “Mountain Warriors”, are getting back into the flow of things as they took part in their annual training events at the Harold L. Disney Training Center June 3-17.


During their two weeks of training, the infantry Soldiers went through a round-robin of refresher classes on combat life-saving techniques, reacting to contact on the battlefield, observation and mapping, radio basics, concealment basics, and weapon familiarization.

The weapon familiarization portion required the Soldiers to break down and reassemble several different weapon systems while being timed. After a morning full of practice, they competed for the fastest times.

“It was awesome to see the guys compete against each other,” said Pfc. Christian Griebenow, a weapons trainer with the 1-149th. “As a trainer, I felt I needed to set the standard on the time for maintaining the M240 [medium machine gun]. Once Sgt. James Bray broke his own personal record, I felt obligated to improve and beat his time. It’s just been an ongoing competition and a good morale booster. Watching everyone enjoy it made me feel like I accomplished my role this year.”

One of the highlights of the training was when the medics taught the infantrymen how to care for injured Soldiers, starting from the moment of injury on the battlefield, all the way to making the nine-line medevac request.

“The medical training is designed to test infantrymen on proper and effective medical treatment while under fire,” said Spc. Logan Festervan, a medic with the 1-149th. “We break the training down to a ‘crawl-walk-run’ technique, making it a simple and effective way to prepare them for situations that they may encounter. All the training is necessary to keep everyone on the same page and ready if called into action.”

The overall intent of the training here was to build on the basic skills needed to compete for proficiency badges and foster camaraderie within the unit.

“We trained and evaluated Soldiers on the Expert Infantry Badge and Expert Soldier Badge tasks," said Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Ashley, acting first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company and ropes course instructor during the training. "This leads to Soldiers being more proficient in these tasks and to become better Soldiers as a whole. The end state of annual training this year is that the battalion is more efficient in these tasks and battle drills. The best part is that we’ve set the culture for our young Soldiers as we produce a learning environment built through motivation, team building, and high repetitions of essential Soldier tasks.”

During the annual training, the battalion was separated between the HLDTC, Fort Knox, and Fort Barfoot, Virginia.

While most of the Battalion was training at HLDTC to improve their skills in a future EIB assessment, 33 Mountain Warriors competed at Fort Barfoot for the real thing. Of those 33 Kentuckians, seven of them survived all challenges and were selected to wear the distinguished badge. Only six total were selected from all other competing battalions.

Mountain Warriors selected to wear the badge were: Army Cpt. Brennan McGuire, C Co.; 1st Lt. Kyle Taylor, HHC; Sgt. 1st Class Casey Lindsay, I Co.; Staff Sgt. Jacob Wright, C Co.; Staff Sgt. Gregory Thiemann, B Co.; Sgt. Jerry Marksbury III, C Co., and Sgt. Baylor Napier, C Co.

“The fact that more than half of the Soldiers selected to wear the distinguished Expert Infantry Badge came from 1-149th shows the level of great character, commitment, and skill we have as infantry Soldiers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Hughes, the battalion's top enlisted. “It also proves that with enough effort and proper training from the leaders in our battalion, we can achieve a high level of success in training, which also prepares us for the battlefield."

Also, Marksbury took home the coveted, top-earning, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team “Iron Mike Award.” Marksbury earned the award while completing the whole assessment “true blue,” meaning he passed as a first-time go for each event, and he was the only competitor to do so.

Besides their recent deployment to Kosovo and Africa, the 1-149th has been deployed to two other theaters of combat operations.

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