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NEWS | July 7, 2023

The Ready Brigade Hosts 30th ABCT for XCTC

By Sgt. Darryl Briggs and Staff Sgt. Justin McClarren, 188th Infantry Brigade

National Guardsmen of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team executed an eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise, or XCTC, while receiving evaluations from 188th Infantry Brigade’s Observer Coach/Trainers on Fort Stewart, June 13-28, 2023.

An XCTC exercise is a realistic training program designed to enhance Soldiers abilities by providing scenarios that simulate combat situations. The annual exercise aims to increase the skills, competency, and readiness of Soldiers at all echelons through tactical lane challenges including company and platoon attacks, movement to contact during tactical convoy operations, live fire exercises, situational training lanes, and more.

“The advantage for guard units is that [XCTC] is incredibly tailorable to your current training and equipment status,” said Col. Paul W. Hollenack, the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team commander.

The 30th ABCT consists of seven battalions which include the 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment, 252nd Armor Regiment, 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, 230th Brigade Support Battalion, and 236th Brigade Engineer Battalion, who took part in the two-week exercise.

The National Guardsmen assigned to the 30th ABCT, otherwise known as ‘Old Hickory,’ traveled from West Virginia, as well as North and South Carolina to conduct the XCTC on Fort Stewart training grounds.

Sgt. Owen Pickens, an infantryman assigned to the 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, 30th ABCT said the training was very beneficial.

“This was my first time attending a training event like this and overall it's a great opportunity for the company and battalion level down to the platoon level,” Pickens said. “I got to understand the higher-level support and logistics that goes into operations of this size, and it shows how the battalion and brigade work together on logistics and strategies involving the bigger picture.”

Throughout the exercise, the 188th Infantry Brigade Observer, Coach/Trainers performed after-action-reviews grounded in doctrine to provide feedback to Soldiers based on their observations and evaluations. The XCTC provides efficient and effective training which enables the 30th ABCT to be combat ready to mobilize when called upon.

“As an OC/T we are the subject matter experts to help facilitate their [30th ABCT] training,” said Sgt 1st Class Javier Rivera, an OC/T assigned to 2nd Battalion, 306th Field Artillery Regiment, 188th Infantry Brigade. “Their command team has asked for feedback and influence on how the unit can be better, and with us conducting the AARs and giving honest feedback, it lets them know how they can be better for when they are ready to get called to deploy or be mobilized.”

The XCTC is crucial for military forces to maintain readiness and preparedness for any situation. It allows for training in a variety of environments and conditions, which prepares soldiers for the unexpected.

“We want them to be as proficient as possible so that they can be prepared and ready to go at a moment's notice,” said Col. William Shoemate II, the 188th Infantry Brigade commander, as he elaborated on the importance of the XCTC. “With each passing day we’re seeing improvements in the training, conditioning, and little details that often go unnoticed. As OC/Ts, we play a critical role by providing guidance and insight to help improve the skills of each Soldier.”

Col. Shoemate says it's been an honor to work with the 30th ABCT and he’s proud of his OC/Ts for their support and contributions to further assist in preparing the 30th ABCT for future missions to come.