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188th Infantry Brigade back at Camp Shelby

May 5, 2011

By Capt. Kurt Van Slooten

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- The 188th Infantry Brigade has made the trek once again from Fort Stewart and Fort Gillem, Ga., to Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, (CSJFTC) Miss., to assist another Army National Guard brigade preparing to deploy.

The Soldiers of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oklahoma Army National Guard, are currently training at CSJFTC for their impending deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their post-mobilization training and validation has been provided by the 177th Armored Brigade and 158th Infantry Brigade co-located at Camp Shelby, the CSJFTC Installation and the 188th Infantry Brigade from Georgia.

Instead of taking the lead, this time the 188th Infantry Brigade is here in a supporting role, providing trainer/mentors (T/Ms) and mobilization liaison officers (LNOs) for the 45th IBCT mobilization.

The 1-306th and 2-306th Regiments, both from Fort Stewart, are both providing T/M support to the mobilizing Oklahoma brigade.

These battle-proven trainer/mentors observe their assigned unit's performance, coaching and mentoring as needed during training scenarios and facilitating after-action reviews to help the unit see what the unit did well and how they could improve.

Some of the scenarios that the Soldiers are facing involve key leader engagements, including meeting with village elders, business owners and police chiefs. They are also dealing with base defense and reacting to improvised explosive devices during patrols.

"One of the things that really adds to realism is the usage of foreign language speakers, who speak Pashto, into key positions in the training and making the Soldiers use translators to deal with these individuals," said Capt. Robert T. Sipes, 2-306th Regiment operations officer. "Another interesting scenario is the incorporation of 'night letters' or letters from the Taliban threatening Afghans friendly with American troops, and having the Soldiers make decisions to deal with this issue."

The 3-345th Regiment augmented by Soldiers from the 1-347th Regiment, both from Fort Gillem, are providing LNO support for the mobilization of the 45th IBCT.

The 188th will continue to provide T/M support during the 45th IBCT's upcoming training cycle at the Joint Readiness Training Center on Fort Polk, La. prior to their deployment to Iraq.

The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve units and assists with redeployment and demobilizing following deployment. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th "Battle Ready" Brigade has been training Reserve Component units for deployments continuously since 2003.

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