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NEWS | June 8, 2022

65th FAB leads multi-state XCTC exercise at Orchard Combat Training Center in Idaho

By 1st Sgt. John Etheridge Utah Army National Guard

The Utah National Guard’s 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,” is participating in Western Strike 22, a large-scale, multi-state field artillery training exercise, June 7-16, 2022, at Orchard Combat Training Center near Boise, Idaho.

Western Strike 22 is an eXportable Combat Training Capabilities exercise which provides National Guard units with highly immersive and fully instrumented training comparable to a combat training center.

“The 65th Field Artillery Brigade has spent 15 months planning and preparing for Western Strike 22, which will focus on mastery of the fundamentals at the platoon and squad level in preparation for large-scale combat operations,” said Col. Shawn Fuellenbach, commander of the 65th Field Artillery Brigade. “My training objective for America’s Thunder is to build lethal, cohesive teams that are highly trained and disciplined, ready to fight and win.”

The XCTC will allow the 65th FAB to train with its subordinate and partner units which are normally stationed in other geographical locations throughout the country. Approximately 2,000 National Guard Soldiers from California, Iowa, North Carolina and Utah and active-component Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Texas are participating in the XCTC. Other Utah National Guard units that will be integrated into the exercise are 2nd General Aviation Support Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, which will provide air and medevac support; 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne); and the 1457th Engineer Battalion, which will perform specialized training.

Active-duty counterparts from First Army will evaluate participating Soldiers on readiness objectives and situational training exercises. The exercise is designed to give brigade and battalion staff the knowledge and experience to synchronize fires in a multi-echelon environment. The XCTC will consist of several squad, platoon and battery-sized artillery and rocket live-fire events.

The XCTC training aims to increase participating units’ readiness and lethality by providing multi-echelon training in a tactical-field environment.

The Utah National Guard proudly serves with nearly 7,300 Soldiers and Airmen who are trained, equipped, and ready to support operations worldwide.

The Idaho Army National Guard’s Orchard Combat Training Center is located 18 miles south of Boise. The 143,000-acre training center provides vast terrain and world-class ranges to prepare brigade combat teams and other units for combat in a tough and realistic training environment.

For more information about this training and photos and video imagery, please visit www.dvidshub.net and use search term WesternStrike22.