The forward formation was made up of soldiers from Bravo as well as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery; A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery Regiment; and volunteers from other units around the state. The Forward guidon will be cased when they return, and the soldiers will return to their regular units.
Capt. Ivo Wambeke, forward commander, addressed his formation for the first time after falling them out into a horseshoe huddle on the parade field.
“We’ve got a big mission coming up,” Wambeke said to his 120 soldiers. “If you don’t know, we’re going to deliver rockets first class to the enemy.”
Wambeke encouraged the unit members to get to know each other as many have not worked together. He added, “If I don’t know you personally, I’ve heard good things about you.”
In a smaller huddle, 1st Lt. Leslie Brazil met with her new charge, “Alpha Forward” which will deploy at a different time from the large body to another area of operations. Her soldiers started training in the field on the mission-essential tasks for a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System battery.
Second Lt. Jacob Brabender, Alpha Forward’s liaison officer, said his focus was on teambuilding.
“We wanted to get everyone working together out here setting up communications and doing reload drills and even a medevac,” Brabender said. “We have experienced people who have been there, done that, to help facilitate the training for our younger soldiers.”
One of those experienced soldiers is veteran Sgt. Wesley Short, who is back in the ammunition section after a stint on the launchers. He’s working with some of the privates and specialists on the resupply vehicles.
“We’re doing uploads and downloads and trying to get their speed up,” Short said. “I’m showing them how to pick a good spot for reload points.”
Private 2 Zachary Owen, for whom this will be a first deployment, said, “I’m excited to go, especially as an E2.” He was quickly reassured by his mentor that the unit will work hard to get him at least one promotion, maybe two, before they mobilize.
While the big unit was split into platoons running warrior task training lanes, and trying to avoid the opposing forces strategically placed around Guernsey’s South Training Area, the 30-man, as it’s known, was evaluating notional casualties and administering first aid to its own, after a mock attack on an ammunition resupply point that yielded a variety of injuries.
Brabender was in charge of calling in a “9-line report” to the responding aviators and medics of the Wyoming Army National Guard’s G Company, 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation, who too, will deploy next year. The training event culminated with the mock patients being airlifted to a notional care facility.
The deployers can look forward to continued training over the next few months and becoming very proficient warriors.