Massachusetts National Guard Leaders Show Off State-of-the-art Training Site
CAMP EDWARDS, Mass. — Massachusetts National Guard top leaders and state officals toured the training areas here and viewed eXportable Combat Training Capabilities exercises, June 10, 2010.
Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard; Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Sellars, commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard; Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety; Massachusetts State Representative Matthew Patrick; Michael Coelho, Executive Office of Public Safety Chief of Staff; Paul Connelly, Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security; and other distinguished guests, were on site at the various XCTC training areas.
Areas included in the XCTC tour were Tactical Training Base Kelley, which housed battalion tactical operation centers for the 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, as well as billeting, recreation and dining facilities for members of the units stationed there.
Also included were the Wardak and Sharana training villages, the exercise control tent and the task analysis facility where they oversee and document the training that day.
The ExCon tent is where data from the XCTC exercises are controlled and monitored. Daniel P. McLemore, the XCTC deputy exercise director gave a brief on how the systems used relayed the data. Another brief was given on the Enhanced Dismount Instrumentation system by Maj. Robert Donovan, the operations officer for the ExCon tent.
The EDI, or “Eddie”, system uses GPS to display the individual soldiers’ movements on the battlefield. The movements are then recorded for use in after action reports, which aid in critiquing every Soldiers’ action during the XCTC exercise.
At the Wardak and Sharana sites the distinguished visitors observed units participating in situational training exercises that simulate situations they may encounter while deployed.
At Wardak village, Soldiers where trained on clearing a village and working with civilians on battlefield, known as COBs. At the Sharana site, Soldiers worked on military operations in urban terrain, known as MOUT, and conducted drills on removing causalities from a hostile environment.
At the COB forward operating base the guests were given a briefing about XCTC opposing forces and civilians, as well as a behind the scenes look at the action. The guests where also shown how mock car bombs and other simulated roadside bombs work. Replicated bombs were set off at the conclusion of the brief. The devices were set-up by WESTefx, a Los Angeles based special effects company.
Following the tour Carter spoke with distinguished guests about Camp Edwards’ long history as a training site for U.S troops. Carter, who is the former commander of Camp Edwards, said that the current MOUT site is very close to the mock-up of a German village that was used for MOUT in World War II.
Heffernan was impressed with the tour of the XCTC exercises she saw as well as the care and attention given to detail.
Heffernan also felt it was good for the soldiers to get familiarized with the customs of the local places to which they will be deployed to.
Sellars stated that the XCTC exercises were well run and gave credit to unit leadership. “We are overall exactly where I thought we would be on training day four,” said Sellars at the completion of the tour.