Six Soldiers of the Kansas National Guard recently stepped up to support fellow New Jersey Guardsmen with a field exercise May 23-June 13.
Maj. Angela Gray, Capt. Hans Stephensen, and Staff Sgt. Nathan Karner, 35th Infantry Division; Sgt. 1st Class Bronson Shipman, and Staff Sgt. Terry Perkins, Kansas Training Center; and Master Sgt. Marc McCully, 891st Engineer Battalion all volunteered to support the New Jersey Army National Guard 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team with their field exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Johnson, Louisiana. The exercise was conducted to help the 44th IBCT to prepare for a deployment to the Middle East.
The Kansas Guardsmen came as guest observer controller/trainers to evaluate and coach the New Jersey Guardsmen. The Kansas Guardsmen arrived three days prior to the event to receive training on how to be an OC/T, which includes how to engage with the training unit Soldiers, what to do in case of an emergency and how to write up daily training summaries. The OC/Ts ensure the safety of all Soldiers during training and act as subject matter experts to their training unit counter parts.
Shipman, a fire control specialist counter battery operator, was one of the first National Guard Soldiers with that Military Occupational Skill to support a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation.
“I always enjoy supporting fellow Guardsmen because we understand the challenges they’re facing and want to see them succeed,” said Shipman.
“It is much different to observe another unit training than it is to be part of the unit that is doing the training,” said Stephensen. “It gives you a chance to step back and see how all the different pieces of a larger operation fit together and allows you to see firsthand what happens when units don’t come prepared and struggle to maintain control of their units.”
“All Combat Training Center rotations are valuable training opportunities to test equipment, personnel, teams, standard operating procedures and plans under a simulated combat environment and allow you to quickly identify areas for improvement.”