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Fort Indiantown Gap scaling up operations

By Brad Rhen | Pennsylvania National Guard June 12, 2020

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. -- Now that Pennsylvania has begun a phased reopening from the COVID-19 crisis, Fort Indiantown Gap has begun gradually increasing operations.

The installation never completely closed; several facilities and recreation areas closed, some training and events were canceled and some employees worked from home.

"Although operations were reduced and some things were canceled, Fort Indiantown Gap never closed," said Col. Lane Marshall, garrison commander. "The primary focus shifted from training to supporting our Soldiers and Airmen who were serving the citizens of the Commonwealth in the fight against the spread of COVID-19."

The 17,000-plus-acre installation, which is the headquarters of the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, is one of the busiest National Guard training sites in the country. More than 120,000 service members train at Fort Indiantown Gap annually, in addition to law enforcement and other state and federal agencies.

While some training was canceled, training didn't cease. For example, the 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade completed pre-deployment training at Fort Indiantown Gap for a scheduled rotation to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

The training, which included weapons qualification, grenade and land-navigation exercises, was conducted with precautions such as social distancing and use of masks where practical.

Pennsylvania National Guard members activated for COVID-19 support missions also received medical training at the installation.

Now that it is beginning to ramp up operations, the training center is anticipating an influx of training requests from units attempting to salvage their training year.

"We are doing everything we can to ensure units can train in a safe manner so they can maintain readiness and they are able to complete their missions when called upon," Marshall said.

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