The Wyoming Army National Guard completed another successful annual training season for 2022. As always, it was a busy season, with many units starting training earlier than usual. Late spring into the summer is the time of the year that Soldiers train on their yearly qualifications. Most importantly, annual training is geared explicitly toward ensuring soldiers are proficient and qualified in their specific military occupations.
Typically at least 14 days, annual training gives Soldiers hands-on experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have during their weekend unit training assemblies.
Recently, the Wyoming Army National Guard has undergone some force structure changes, which included adding another infantry unit. For Delta Co., 1st Battalion, 297th Regiment, this was their first annual training season as a new unit.
When the option became available to join Delta Co., several members from Wyoming units transferred in; for others, this was their first duty assignment straight out of initial entry training. A handful of other Soldiers came in from an active duty component.
“The company continues to grow, and new Soldiers are assigned weekly,” says Capt. Eric Rush, commander of Delta Co. “Around 15 Soldiers transferred from units around Wyoming. Delta Co. is also the first assignment for 10 Soldiers, and another five have transferred from an active component.”
Delta Co.’s first AT consisted of conducting the Army Combat Fitness Test, of which the unit had a 100% passing rate. They also executed driver’s training and land navigation in a military vehicle. Soldiers also rehearsed Gunnery Skills Test tasks, where they trained to acquire and engage targets in various conditions. They also prepared range cards, a sketch of an assigned area for a direct fire weapon system, established fighting positions and completed Situational Tactical Exercise lanes.
All these exercises resulted in the Soldier’s basic understanding of what a heavy weapons infantry company does, what the mission is, and how the company differs from a rifle infantry company.
Like most units in Wyoming, the company trained at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center.
According to Rush, the ability to train and maneuver vehicles in complex terrain is unmatched elsewhere in the state. “Camp Guernsey offers some of the best infantry terrain available, and it’s local for our unit,” he says.
Delta Co. also has a unique mission compared to other units in the Wyoming Army Guard. They are the fastest-moving company in a light infantry battalion with unique challenges and assignments. The company presents the opportunity to train on and utilize heavy and anti-armor weapons.
“The Soldiers left AT hungry and motivated to be a part of a new unit,” says Rush. Infantry naturally attracts young Soldiers with a thirst for adventure.
Delta Co. is the second infantry company to call Wyoming home and is the sister company to Charlie Co., 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment.
For another unit, annual training consisted of partnering with organizations in Wyoming to complete projects that not only qualify as training but benefit communities in Wyoming.
Soldiers of the 133rd Engineer Company, housed out of Laramie and Rock Springs, teamed up with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to complete improvements at the Wick Brothers/Beumee Wildlife Habitat Area near Arlington. They also partnered with Laramie County making improvements at the Laramie County Shooting Sports Complex in Cheyenne.
The projects were part of Innovative Readiness Training exercises. IRT is a DoD military training opportunity that delivers joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness. It is exclusive to the U.S. and its territories.
IRT projects benefit communities by building strong partnerships with our neighbors by applying military personnel and their unique skill sets to assist with worthy community needs.
“An IRT provides a service for the community and the Soldiers and helps to increase our partnerships,” Capt. Ethan Carswell, commander of the 133rd. “It showcases to the community we’re working with that we are willing to help them with projects they may have and are struggling to complete.”
In June, the horizontal engineers of the 133rd completed the initial phase of putting in a 300-yard berm at the Laramie County Shooting Sports Complex in Cheyenne. The new lane expanded on the existing ones at the complex. Berm movement and placement mimic building berms for both vehicles and soldiers’ fighting positions, which falls under survivor-ability training as a mission-essential task.
In August, the vertical engineers returned to a project started in 2021 with the Game and Fish Department to complete a new patrol cabin, a well-house, improvements to historic buildings on the property, replacing damaged culverts, and improve roadways in the Wick Brothers/Beumee Wildlife Habitat Area.
“Game and Fish is extremely grateful for the relationship built with the National Guard over the last few years,” said Eric Wiltanger, Services Division Chief for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “The department and the wildlife resources across Wyoming are benefiting from the exceptional work these fine Soldiers are completing on the ground across Wyoming.”
The projects align with mission-essential task training for units of the Wyoming Guard.
Overall, annual training for the Soldiers of the Wyoming Guard completed a successful season, validating their Soldier proficiencies and qualifications. All Soldiers must complete an Army Combat Fitness Test and weapons qualification. The rest is dedicated to their military occupations to ensure they are ready to respond as the Sword and Shield of our nation.