By Staff Sgt. Andrew Porch
2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
FORT IRWIN, Calif. — A monthlong exercise in the Mojave Desert concluded July 5 for more than 3,500 Soldiers from the “Warhorse” Brigade at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.
The training event, which began June 4, focused on the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, conducting multiple training objectives including offensive and defensive operations, movement to contact operations, logistical resupply and key leader engagements.
“In 21 years in the Army and 10 rotations at training centers, I have never seen a brigade combat team come out with a better state of readiness or to have been so successful as 2nd Brigade was,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Koloski, deputy commanding officer, 2nd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div.
“Warhorse” Soldiers took advantage of the wide open spaces at NTC to conduct training from company through brigade levels in order to prepare for a hybrid threat.
“Training here gives us the flexibility to maneuver on open ground against a common enemy with similar capabilities and maneuver through an urban environment while destroying an insurgent threat,” said Capt. Nicholas Rinaldi, commander, Company C, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd ABCT.
Rinaldi, who has been in command a few months, said he cherished the training with his Soldiers.
“It’s great and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” said Rinaldi. “These guys work extremely hard to make sure that our vehicles are ready to go, that they are trained properly and when we execute a mission, they always succeed.”
Soldiers also said they enjoyed the training.
“The training was pretty good,” said Spc. Christopher Drawbond, armor crewman, Company C, 1st Bn., 67th Armor Reg. “This was the first time I have really done force-on-force training.”
Prior to conducting the brigade force-on-force training, Drawbond and his unit participated in battalion level live-fire training.
“It was definitely an eye-opening experience,” said Drawbond. “You have to be cognizant of a lot more, and know what the units to your left and right are doing at all times.”
Brigade senior leadership said the Soldiers came prepared to accomplish any mission thrown at them during the challenging month.
“Whether it was a Soldier pumping fuel from a support battalion or a loader on a tank from one of our two combined arms battalions; from the entire spectrum, everyone had to be on their game in order for the brigade to succeed,” said Koloski. “I think the Soldiers at all levels were really challenged and they brought all of their training in their military occupation specialty to bear.”
Rinaldi echoed Koloski’s statement and said while his Soldiers came into the exercise well trained, they came out of it with more knowledge and skills.
“The Soldiers are extremely well trained,” said Rinaldi. “This is our second collective training exercise, and I thought we were completely trained after Piñon Canyon (Maneuver Site). We came out here and learned a whole bunch of new things. Everyone learned something out here.”
Koloski said attending a major training center is an important part to preparing for deployment.
“Do everything in your power to come to the National Training Center or go to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., because those are where your final skills are honed and where you are really tested,” he said.
With an upcoming mission to deploy to Kuwait later this year as the U.S. Central Command theatre reserve, the brigade leadership said they feel the brigade is ready for anything.
“Coming out of here, this is probably the most prepared and ready brigade in the United States Army,” said Koloski.