HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) — After completing four weeks of intensive training in Fort Irwin, California, the largest National Guard unit in Mississippi is prepared for overseas deployment if called.
The 155th Armored Brigade Combat wrapped up their annual training at the National Training Center on June 22nd.
“We learned a lot while we were there and that will prepare this unit, so they can do something in the next eight months before they go overseas to do real work,” said Mississippi’s adjunct general, Major General Janson D. Boyles.
Boyle says the Active Army has been dependent on National Guards for the past 10-15 years and that the Army is no longer a strategic force, they are now operational.
“The active duty has had to downside some of their combat assets, the national guard has remained the same,” he said. “We have became an even more powerful force for the active component.”
Every five years, Mississippi’s National Guard is cycling in to go work overseas for the Active Army and Air-Force, if needed. Next year, the 155th falls in the five-year rotation and will support active-duty overseas.
During this years readying at the National Training Center, NTC, Sgt. Kyle Thomas of Armory was killed in a tank rollover accident.
“We lost a soldier but what we do is very difficult and sometimes we are reminded of that,” he said. “So my heart and prayers go out to that soldier’s families, but everyone else returned in great shape.”
Boyle says the unit will take what they learned at NTC and make improvement, begin to get equipment ready, and retrain on exercises needing improvements.
“We exceeded all expectations in some areas, in other areas we learned a lot,” said Major General Boyles. “My active-duty trainers who over saw the operations have given us very high remarks. I can not tell you how proud I am of them out there.”