FORT STEWART, Ga. –
Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion familiarized themselves with M2 and M249 machine guns and M4A1 carbines during an Exportable Combat Training Capabilities exercise June 22.
The exercise enables brigade combat teams to achieve the trained platoon readiness to deploy, fight and win battles worldwide. About 4,400 brigade personnel from throughout Georgia participated.
“It’s been really good because they incorporate real-life scenarios,” said Sgt. Zachary Hayes, squad leader, Bravo Company, 177th Brigade Engineers Battalion. “Our guys are doing a really good job. We’ve had people start to prove that they know what they’re doing. They are good at it and very effective at their job.”
The unit specializes in creating and maintaining a battalion or a brigade’s freedom of mobility. XCTC has provided many opportunities to train in identifying and handling potential dangers with many other specialized units within the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The training includes working with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear units in mass casualty situations.
“We clear routes of IEDs and any other types of munitions that might be used to inhibit freedom of movement. We accomplish this for battalion- to brigade-sized elements,” said 1st Lt. Carson Wright, route clearance platoon leader, Bravo Company, 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion. “It’s best that we get them as much training as possible so they are more effective when we are on mission.”
Freedom of mobility is significant to the success of any operation, and being versatile is beneficial to Soldiers in unpredictable scenarios like mass casualty events.
Soldiers participating in XCTC have been training in a field environment and working closely with each other and their leadership. The 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion has been training on vehicles and weapons they will utilize in a deployed environment.
“It has been a good experience for me,” said Pfc. Solaine Gordan, a combat engineer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 177th Brigade Engineer Battalion. “I am not originally from the United States. I am originally from Jamaica. So a lot of the ways you all speak or read are not the same for me. Also, I am very shy, so it’s different for me to constantly speak up.”
Hayes said building trust among peers was a big takeaway from the exercise.