Oct. 21, 2010

29th ID Soldiers conduct pre-mobilization training for Afghanistan mission

By Cotton Puryear
Virginia Department of Military Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — Maryland and Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division are conducting training Oct. 12-31 in order to prepare for their upcoming federal mobilization for duty in Afghanistan. The Soldiers are spending two weeks at Fort Pickett focusing on Army Warrior Task Category I training, then will spend a week at several different locations conducting online training and finalizing administrative requirements prior to the start of the deployment.

 

Col. Thomas L. Morgan III of the Virginia National Guard conducts training on effective employment of hand grenades Oct. 17 at Fort Pickett. Morgan is one of 72 Maryland and Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the 29th Infantry Division scheduled to mobilized for federal active duty in Afghanistan in early November.

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

Of the 72 Soldiers deploying for the mission, 44 are from the Virginia Guard and 28 are from Maryland Guard. Once in Afghanistan, the Soldiers will be part of the Afghan Development Assistance Bureau, and they will provide subject matter expertise and conduct training and assessment of Afghan Police and Military personnel.

The pre-mobilization training marks the first time all the Soldiers have trained together as a group for an extended period of time. “The team seems to be coming together,” said Col. Will O’Neill, the 29th ID Deputy Commanding General for Maneuver and senior officer for the mission. “We will be ready when we the call comes in a couple of weeks.” O’Neill will serve as the Director of the ADAB.

 

Maryland and Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers from the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division conducted training on tactical water hazard crossing Oct. 17, 2010, at Fort Pickett as part of their Army War Task training to prepare for their upcoming federal mobilization for duty in Afghanistan. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

During the first two weeks of pre-mobilization training at Fort Pickett the Soldiers are working on individual Army Warrior Tasks which included weapons qualification, day and night land navigation, basic first aid skills, employing hand grenades, tactical movement under direct fire and reacting to improvised explosive devices. After a week of online training and other taking care of administrative tasks, the Soldiers will officially mobilize for federal active duty Nov. 1 and conduct departure ceremonies Nov. 3 in Maryland and Virginia.

“The officers and noncommissioned officers for this mission were pretty much handpicked for their expertise,” O’Neill said. He pointed out examples like the leader of the current operations cell is a former infantry battalion commander, the leader of the engineer team has served as a brigade- and division-level engineer and an NCO with extensive information technology experience was selected to be able to work with the computer network systems in theater.

After the departure ceremonies, the Soldiers will spend several weeks at Camp Atterbury, Ind. where they will conduct Category II collective training to prepare them as a staff for the missions as part of the ADAB. During their training, they will be working with their counterparts in Afghanistan leading up to a final culminating exercise that will simulate their mission once they are in theater.

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