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NEWS | July 15, 2023

Field Artillery participate in XCTC

By Courtesy story by 1st Lt. Lucas Hackleman 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery

(July 1, 2023) -- Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery Brigade, conducted numerous training events during their Exportable Combat Training Capabilities exercise June 16-30.

Exportable Combat Training Capabilities, or XCTC, is the Army National Guard’s program of record that enables brigade combat teams to achieve the trained platoon readiness necessary to deploy, fight, and win battles throughout the world. During XCTC 2023, the 2-138th training included situational training exercise (STX) lanes, tactical logistics operations and going over the military decision making process (MDMP), among other tasks.

Personnel and equipment were outfitted with Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) gear, implemented by the National Guard’s Mission Command Training Support Program.

MILES gear is designed to simulate both the firing capabilities and the vulnerability of dismounted troops, tactical vehicles and combat vehicles and to objectively assess weapon effects during training.

“This provides leaders the ability to adjudicate force-on-force training and provide data used in the after action review, as it displays the locations of personnel and equipment in real-time, allowing proctors to see how units were reacting in battle drills, adding additional value to the training,” said Army Sgt. Maj. James “Robbie” Rogers, Operations Sergeant Major for the battalion.

The battalion also conducted a few competitions near the end of their time in the field that included who had the Top Ammo Section, Top Fire Direction Center and Top Gunner.

“The tests measure the Soldiers ability to conduct fire missions and other supporting measures under a timed standard, and provides them additional motivation,” said Capt. Graciela Tharp, Charlie Battery commander for 2nd Battalion. “The award for each competition goes to the respective Battery/Section until the next competition that takes place each year at our annual training.”

Battalion staff conducted MDMP for large scale combat operations where staff sections wrote annexes and appendices to the base operation order for Operation Red Thunder and conducted planning and contingency operations. At the conclusion of mission planning, they briefed the Battery and Company Commanders and First Sergeants on each stage of the operation, presenting what the main efforts were and what tasks the units would need to undertake.

As the simulation began, each staff section participated in battle drills and communicated with the response cell via JBCP (joint battle command platform) to counteract obstacles that were placed in front of them, as well as maintaining running estimates and a common operating picture (COP) for the battalion’s leadership to efficiently be informed of what was happening without the need to ask.

“This training forced our Soldiers out of their comfort zone and presented them with opportunities to broaden their experience base. The units quickly became adept at new tasks and honed their skills when it came to challenges they’ve seen before the training,” said Rogers.

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