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NEWS | Aug. 9, 2018

1030th Soldiers sharpen their fieldcraft during annual training

By Maj. Jenny Hartsock 329th Regional Support Group

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Gate City-based 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group conducted annual training from July 14-28, 2018 at Fort Pickett, Virginia.

“This has been a fantastic opportunity for all the members of the 1030th, whether commanders or staff or section members, to get out into a field environment and train on critical go-to-war skills that have gotten rusty for many of us,” said Lt. Col. Todd Pegg. “The next war is likely to be different from the last one, and we’re trying hard to make that azimuth change ahead of time.”

The 1030th Transportation Battalion utilized the field time to focus on basic fieldcraft and tactics, Pegg said. Fieldcraft is everything to do with military life outdoors as it relates to being “out in the field” away from modern facilities and completing your mission with whatever you can carry or take with you, he explained.

Col. K. Weedon Gallagher, the 329th RSG Commander and Command Sgt. Maj. E. Tim Miller, 329th Regional Support Group command sergeant major, conducted their battlefield circulation July, 20-21, 2018. The command team visited all of the units of the 1030th. Their battlefield circulation visit on July 21, 2018 began with pouring rain but the rain lifted just before 10 a.m. when they met with Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Rocky Mount-based 229th Chemical Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion.

Soldiers of the 229th Chemical Company linked up with the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment to conduct rotary wing chemical reconnaissance and decontamination operations at Fort Pickett, Virginia. The exercise simulated the chemical company personnel conducting an aerial reconnaissance to a contaminated area. According to Pegg, aerial surveys are conducted rapidly over large areas. Radiation exposure levels for survey teams are considerably lower than during ground surveys. Aerial surveys can be employed in areas where the terrain is difficult. To complete the exercise, the Soldiers were then required to test their skills by taking simulated samples of the toxins. In doing so, a Virginia National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter landed in a contaminated area which required the chemical Soldiers to become familiar with non-standard decontamination procedures.

“The 229th Chemical Company collaboration with army aviation, to include air frames in their decontamination training, yielded fantastic results; for both our chemical and aviation warriors,” said Gallagher. “Building on similar partnerships between the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the Danville-based 429th Brigade Support Battalion as well as the Petersburg-based 276th Engineer Battalion and the Fredericksburg-based 229th Brigade Engineer Battalion, the 1030th Transportation Battalion is working across the major subordinate commands to coordinate training events.”

Gallagher and Miller also visited the Manassas-based 229th Military Police Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion. Capt. Cari M. Kelso, 229th Military Police commander, met with Gallagher and Miller, escorting the command team to units conducting training at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain site, MOUT. The military police were conducting urban operations, honing their battle drills that included entering buildings and room clearing. They executed entry control point training as well as training on how to call in a nine-line medical evacuation report in a timely manner.

Gallagher and Miller then visited with the Gate City-based 1032nd Transportation Company as well as the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company where the transportation companies conducted real-world haul missions. After conducting preventative maintenance checks on their vehicles and conducting a convoy briefing, the Soldiers departed for their destination to pick up supplies and equipment for transport. The unit also conducted drivers training, improvised explosive device lane training, and navigation training as well. Earlier in the week, more than 40 Soldiers assigned to 1032nd Transportation Company extended their enlistments.

Gallagher and Miller recognized outstanding Soldiers within the 1030th Transportation Battalion for their contributions to the unit and its mission during the annual training. Gallagher and Miller presented 11 Soldiers with coins of excellence, bearing the 329th RSG emblem. Gallagher and Miller presented the coins in recognition of special achievements by these unit members.

Those who received challenge coins, included: Spc. Arlington Tavita, 2nd Lt. Wesley Henderson, Staff Sgt. Gary Wood, Staff Sgt. James Garber, Spc. Travis Alstrop, 1st Lt. Joseph Evans, Staff Sgt. Brandon Davis, Sgt. Morgan Ward, Sgt. Naomi Williams, 2nd Lt. Dustin Smith, and 2nd Lt. Ryan Smith.

“Command Sgt. Maj. James Shepard, 1030th Transportation Battalion command sergeant major, advised Col. Gallagher and I that there were selective Soldiers of the 1030th that operated at levels higher than their pay grade to plan, resource, and maintain equipment necessary to complete an aggressive training schedule and conduct missions that covered over 40,000 miles during the two week annual training,” said Miller. “It’s always humbling to meet Soldiers of this caliber. Our junior leaders are extremely knowledge and proven as an example for their peers and subordinates alike can emulate.”

“It’s exciting to see Soldiers engaged in the enhancement of warfighting skills,” said Gallagher. “The 1030th re-tooled their annual training plan within a few months to focus on fieldcraft. These Soldiers are motivated and it’s infectious.”

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