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
Articles
News | July 7, 2021

New commander details 124th RTI's pandemic responses

By Joshua Cohen Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

Operations at the Vermont National Guard’s 124th Regional Training Institute are gradually returning to the pre-COVID normal according to the Institute’s newly appointed commander, Col. William Wagner.

"It’s more complex than simply not having to wear a mask anymore," he said, pointing out the post pandemic reopening will require continual adaptation.

Wagner explained that post-COVID resources now have to be planned out and allocated well in advance. Due in part to the global pandemic, food contracts and vendors have increased in cost, complicating the contracting process.

During the pandemic, staffing was adjusted to maintain student engagement. “As a result of COVID we had to instruct the Basic Leader Course virtually," he said. "This prompted 2nd Battalion, 124th Regiment Modular Training Battalion to add an additional instructor to monitor questions presented digitally. As a result student size increased from 72 to 80.”

Wagner explained that as an agile learning organization successes from lessons learned while teaching in COVID times will be utilized.

“For instance, it may make sense to continue a virtual Basic Leader’s Course, offering the ability for expanding student attendance, therefore increasing the Army's readiness by providing exceptionally qualified junior NCOs to the Army arsenal by ‘Training the Army one Soldier at a Time.’”

Wagner said due to physical proximity and inability to physically distance, the temporary postponement of the Mountain Rifleman course was necessary during the pandemic. The Basic Military Mountaineering Course was also impacted, with class size reduced from 64 to 16, to ensure the safety of all students and instructors during COVID.

"I'd like to see the entire RTI back to achieving our original Army Program of Individual Training mission," Wagner said, explaining the Army Mountain Warfare School conducted courses at limited capacity during the peak of COVID for several months.

As COVID cases gradually reduced and mitigations were established, AMWS gradually began to have limited numbers of Soldiers, starting at 16 then increasing to 32, eventually returning to the normal class size of 64. By the end of Training Year 2022, the RTI will exceed its ARPRINT mission, Wagner said, noting the pandemic had no adverse impact on 3rd Battalion, 124th Information Operations.

As part of a return to normal operations, Wagner said experience gained by deployed RTI staff will be exploited as they re-integrate, while new talent will be sought for the cadre. “It will require cadre flexibility and willingness to adapt, already demonstrated by the Regiment’s success during COVID.”

Wagner said he intends to build RTI 'brand recognition' back up after the long COVID interruption. "While we're still nationally known for Army Mountain Warfare School and Information Operations, we need to regain mind space across the reserve component. We need to be every Quota Source Manager's first thought for our course offerings."

He added that preparation and implementation has begun with building projects and installation of special turf that provides BLC the capability to conduct the Army Combat Fitness Test in Quarter 1 of Training Year 2022.

Wagner said he has a personal connection with the RTI’s mission, “because of the vast number of Soldiers we've trained, and the influence we have in shaping future leaders, not just students who've come through our courses, but also those serving as cadre, it can be tremendously motivating to see the positive influence we can have on our students, and that makes us want to be all the more successful."

Wagner assumed command of the 124th Regimental Training Institute in March of 2021 after serving 18 months in direct support to U.S. Cyber Command and prior to that within the communications directorate for the Vermont Army National Guard. He is a 2019 graduate of the Army War College, a 2011 graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and graduate of the Military Police Officer Basic Course, the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, and the Signal Captain’s Career Course.

National Guard News
New York Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Denny Richardson presents a challenge coin to World War II veteran William H. Meyer during his 100th birthday celebration at Shaker Place Nursing Home in Latham, New York, Nov. 28, 2022.
NY Air Guard Leaders Salute World War II Vet on his 100th
By Master Sgt. Ryan Campbell, | Nov. 29, 2022
LATHAM, N.Y. – New York Air National Guard leaders gathered at the Shaker Place Nursing Home to honor a World War II veteran on his 100th birthday Nov. 28.William H. Meyer served in the Army Air Forces, and later the Air...

Soldiers with the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team plan and review the unit’s movements during Warfighter 23-2 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Nov. 8, 2022. The warfighter exercises provide virtual battlefield scenarios that test a unit’s staff and Soldiers’ ability to coordinate and communicate in functional skill areas such as command and control, movement and maneuver, intelligence, targeting processes, sustainment and protection.
Louisiana Guard Tiger Brigade Tested in Warfighter Exercise
By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, | Nov. 29, 2022
PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana Army National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team sent more than 100 Soldiers to participate in Warfighter Exercise 23-2 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Oct. 25-Nov. 15.Warfighter exercises...

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Sullivan, assistant operations noncommissioned officer with the 734th Regional Support Group, Iowa Army National Guard, kneels next to “Sully’s Lil Red Wagon” at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, Nov. 17, 2022. He uses the wagon to collect donations for the homeless.
Iowa National Guard Soldier Gives Back to Homeless
By Staff Sgt. Tawny Kruse, | Nov. 29, 2022
JOHNSTON, Iowa – Shortly after the first snow of the season, Iowa National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Michael Sullivan pulled out his “Lil Red Wagon” for the third year in a row to collect donations for the Des Moines area homeless...

Alaska Army National Guard 2nd Lt. Ryan Montgomery, a pilot with 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), visits with children during Operation Santa Claus in Scammon Bay Nov. 16, 2022.
Alaska Guardsmen Bring Holiday Cheer to Scammon Bay
By 1st Lt. Balinda ONeal, | Nov. 29, 2022
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter filled with volunteers and holiday gifts for children in the northwest community of Scammon Bay touched down on the south bank of the frozen Kun River,...

First Lady Jill Biden is joined by National Guard family members, state adjutants general and National Guard senior leaders for a roundtable discussion on support for National Guard children in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington Nov. 28, 2022.
First Lady Jill Biden: National Guard a 'beacon of hope' in times of need
By Master Sgt. Jim Greenhill and Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely, | Nov. 28, 2022
WASHINGTON – How best to support service members and their families dominated discussion when First Lady Jill Biden hosted National Guardsmen, spouses and children at the White House Nov. 28.“For many Americans, our National...