'Wild Boars' deploy to Wyoming, train for Afghanistan operations
March 12, 2010
CAMP GUERNSEY, Wyo. - In preparations for conducting operations in Afghanistan, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, deployed to Camp Guernsey Army Airfield, Wyo. in February to conduct month-long, battle-focused training.
The cold climate, high altitude and mountainous terrain in Wyoming should expose 2-30 IN "Wild Boars" Soldiers to some of the conditions they will face when they deploy to Afghanistan later this year. Conducting training exercises at Camp Guernsey is helping prepare 2-30 IN Soldiers for living, moving and fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan.
"At Fort Polk, we have the greatest training base in the Army; we can replicate almost everything," said Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Maddi, 2-30 IN battalion command sergeant major. "The only things Fort Polk can't offer us are altitude and terrain."
The Wild Boars are not in Wyoming training alone however. The "Gators" of Battery A, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment; Sappers from the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion and various Soldiers from the 94th Brigade Support Battalion joined the 2-30 IN for their off-post training (OPT). In all, more than 800 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division "Patriot Brigade" troops traveled to Guernsey and the National Guard post there, nearly doubling the local populace of about 1,100 residents.
1st Lt. David DeKerlegand, Wild Boar battalion logistics officer, was a key planner in coordinating the movement to Wyoming. He surveyed the sight two months before the deployment, arranged the shipment of each company's equipment and acquired all supplies necessary to sustain a battalion-sized element for an entire month. He also organized the passenger jets it took to move the battalion and its supporting elements half way across the country.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-30 IN helped DeKerlegand with personnel issues and the Soldier Readiness Program, ensuring each deploying Soldier was fit to make the journey. However, 2-30 IN needed outside assistance to move its assets to Camp Guernsey, and their home station installation was more than willing and able to help. The Fort Polk transportation office helped charter buses to and from airports and assisted in arranging flights.
"It takes the entire installation to get us out here," said Maddi, who also praised the hospitality of Camp Guernsey personnel. "The people here have been extremely friendly and welcoming to us."
DeKerlegand echoed Maddi's sentiment of appreciation, saying "this has been the most user friendly Off-Post Training site I've ever dealt with. Every time I've come to them with an outrageous request they've told me, 'we'll make it work.'"
The process of transporting such a complete fighting force from one place to another is of considerable training value in itself. The movement to Wyoming should be very similar to 2-30 IN's eventual deployment to Afghanistan later this year. The efficiency of the move was even commented on by some of the soldiers. One Soldier said the movement to Wyoming was extremely efficient, even more so than when the Wild Boars deployed to Iraq in 2007.
"When we went to Iraq ... we took everything," said Spc. Scott Denommee, Co. A. "Now we have a much better understanding of the things we need and the things we don't need, and we're working better because of it. By the time we go to Afghanistan, we'll have an even better understanding."
The Wild Boars and their supporting elements have arrived at Camp Guernsey safely and efficiently. Now they can turn their attentions to why they left in the first place - to better prepare for conducting operations in Afghanistan.