An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Vermont National Guard Logo News
News | July 18, 2017

86th IBCT (MTN) finishes warfighter exercise

By Spc. Avery Cunningham 172nd Public Affairs Detachment

The 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Vermont National Guard, conducted a warfighter exercise held from June 3-14. The exercise is a tactical operations drill designed to train brigade staff using a simulation with the Army’s Command Post of the Future, a software system that enables commanders to see the battlefield and communicate across the force. The brigade was at Fort Drum to facilitate the exercise.

“Fort Drum brings a lot of resources to the table that helps us have a successful exercise. There’s the terrain that allows us to set up all of our command posts,” said U.S. Army Col. Andrew Harris, 86th IBCT (MTN) commander. “There’s the technological backdrop through the mission training center that has briefing rooms, [after action review] facilities, conference facilities, and the computer technology and bandwidth needed to support the simulation exercise.”

Fort Drum also allows the brigade to work more closely with the 10th Mountain Division, who they were organized with since entry into the Associated Units pilot program in October of 2016. It is a new concept designed to increase the readiness and responsiveness of the Army as a total force.

“We have a higher headquarters that is the same as our associated unit headquarters and that association, both with our higher headquarters and with our sister brigades in the 10th Mountain Division, allows us to more habitually practice the things we do every day,” said Harris. “That consistency and repetition in [standard operating procedures] nested together makes us better at what we do.”

The 86th IBCT (MTN) brought together Soldiers from many different states. While the mountain brigade is headquartered in Vermont, it has units from Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Bringing those states together builds on consistency and allows for a more accurate and realistic training scenario.

“A lot of states are coming together to work as a team and a warfighter allows us to do that,” said Capt. Laura Wallace, battle captain, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion. “The senior mentor for the exercise could not tell that an element was from another state. We all wear the 10th Mountain patch and we’re all part of the 86th IBCT.”

This camaraderie is integral to building the brigade’s relationships between subordinate and supervising units. The exercise is just one in a series of steps for the unit to finish their cycle of training.

“It will prepare us for a more comprehensive field exercise next summer, which is called XCTC (eXportable Combat Training Capability) and that exercise next summer will prepare us for one that is two summers from now which is JRTC (Joint Readiness Training Center),” said Harris. “Each one of those is an even bigger exercise involving more troops, more resources, more equipment, and more land and space.”

XCTC and JRTC are phases that teach the brigade what it needs to know to improve and become battle ready. Each of the exercises adds another layer of complexity, first working as a battalion in XCTC, and then the whole brigade coming together for JRTC. The exercises build upon each person’s knowledge-base.

“This is a learning organization, so at our battalion we had some new personnel, and we’re moving forward with developing processes and workflow to accomplish the mission,” said Wallace.

The brigade’s focus for this exercise was to develop leaders within the organization.

“It gets the leaders trained. It gets the leaders focused on mission planning, on how to care for, feed, maneuver, and employ all of our Soldiers and their equipment,” said Harris. “Once the leaders are trained, we can expand it in the next year to the far more comprehensive XCTC.”

The brigade is preparing for its path to a successful and trained force. Soldiers are now done with the Warfighter exercise and ready for the journey home, so they can rest and prepare for their next training event.

“Soldiers should come home tired and fulfilled from the time they spent with us here at Fort Drum, and we’re grateful for everyone’s willingness to share their loved ones with us for this two week period,” said Harris.
National Guard News
Airmen assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, refuel a C-130H Hercules aircraft Feb. 13, 2024, at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri. Aircrews conducted a 41-hour sortie in which the aircraft engines ran continuously for 45 hours and the aircraft was refueled three times.
Missouri Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing Executes 41-hour Sortie
By Michael Crane, | Feb. 20, 2024
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - The 139th Airlift Wing has set a new milestone by pushing the boundaries of the C-130H Hercules aircraft. From Feb. 13-15, multiple aircrews flew a mission in which the aircraft’s cumulative flight time was...

U.S. Air Force Master Sgts. Jordanna Escobar, left, and Misty Palomo of the Guam Air National Guard 254th Security Forces Squadron pull security on a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon at the A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport during Exercise Cope North, Feb. 9, 2024.
Guam Air Guard Security Forces Join Cope North Exercise
By Mark Scott, | Feb. 20, 2024
BARRIGADA, Guam – About 20 Airmen from the Guam Air National Guard’s 254th Security Forces Squadron “Defenders” are on active duty to secure fighter jets operating from Guam International Airport during the Cope North 24...

From left, Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony Whitehead, SEA to the chief, National Guard Bureau; Sgt. Maj. Alan Thomas, operations sergeant major, Indiana National Guard; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Regina Carrell, a senior strategic intelligence analyst at the National Guard Bureau, and Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau, at the Black Engineer of the Year Award Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Stars and Stripes dinner and reception, Baltimore, Maryland, Feb. 16, 2024. The National Guard Bureau was the featured military organization of the 2024 Stars and Stripes event.
Hokanson at BEYA STEM Conference: Become everything you are in the National Guard
By Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely, | Feb. 17, 2024
BALTIMORE – Science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be the foundations for solving today’s and tomorrow’s problems, the National Guard’s top officer told an audience of students, cadets, corporate executives and...

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, director, Air National Guard, speaks during his Order of the Sword induction ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Feb. 15, 2024.
Air National Guard Director Inducted into Order of the Sword
By Master Sgt. Chelcee Arnold and Tech. Sgt. Sarah McClanahan, | Feb. 16, 2024
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, director, Air National Guard, was inducted into the Order of the Sword at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs Feb. 15.The Order of the Sword...

205th Base Defense Squadron Airmen pose in front of an MRZR off-road vehicle. Ten Airmen from the 105th Airlift Wing’s 205th Base Defense Squadron participated in Exercise Red Flag Jan. 15-26, 2024, training in the field on essential security forces concepts.
105th Airmen Support Security Forces Training at Red Flag
By 1st Lt. Briana Ross, | Feb. 16, 2024
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. - Ten Airmen from the 105th Airlift Wing’s 205th Base Defense Squadron trained in cutting-edge base defense operational concepts at Exercise Red Flag 24-1 from Jan. 15-26.Exercise Red Flag was...