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Utah Field Artillery Brigade Leads XCTC Exercise in Idaho | Article

A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System engages its target during a qualification event at Western Strike 22 at Orchard Combat Training Center, Idaho, June 6, 2022. The exportable combat training capabilities exercise led by the 65th Field Artillery Brigade provides National Guard soldiers with submerged training similar to a combat training center to increase readiness and lethality. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Alejandro Lucero)
(Photo credit: US Army)


ORCHARD COMBAT TRAINING CENTER, Idaho – The Utah National Guard’s 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,” is participating in Western Strike 22, a large-scale field artillery training exercise, du June 7 to 16.

The Exportable Combat Training Capabilities Exercise provides National Guard units with highly immersive, fully instrumented training comparable to a combat training center.

“The 65th Field Artillery Brigade has spent 15 months planning and preparing for Western Strike 22, which will focus on mastering platoon and squad level fundamentals for large-scale combat operations” , said Colonel Shawn Fuellenbach, commander of the 65th Field Artillery Brigade. “My training goal for America’s Thunder is to build lethal, cohesive, highly trained and disciplined teams ready to fight and win.”

The XCTC will allow the 65th FAB to train with its subordinate and partner units, usually stationed in other locations around the country.

Approximately 2,000 National Guard soldiers from California, Iowa, North Carolina and Utah and soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Texas are participating in the XCTC. Other Utah National Guard units that will be incorporated into the exercise are the 2nd General Aviation Support Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, which will provide air and medical evacuation support; 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne); and the 1457th Engineer Battalion, which will conduct specialized training.

First Army active duty counterparts will evaluate soldiers on readiness objectives and situational training exercises. The exercise is designed to give brigade and battalion personnel the knowledge and experience to synchronize fires in a multi-echelon environment. The XCTC will consist of multiple squad, platoon and battery sized artillery and rocket events.

The Utah National Guard serves with nearly 7,300 Soldiers and Airmen trained, equipped, and ready to support operations worldwide.

The Idaho Army National Guard’s 143,000-acre Orchard Combat Training Center is 18 miles south of Boise. It offers vast terrain and world-class ranges to prepare brigade combat teams and other units for combat in a realistic training environment.

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