Archive: First Army

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  • 189th IN partners with civilian air ambulance for training

    Mar 19, 2013

    FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. -- They provide the kind of help you hope you never need. Mercy Air, an air ambulance company, supports both military personnel and their Families stationed here and military personnel participating in training exercises. When needed, Mercy Air "races the reaper" to airlift trauma patients from the installation to medical facilities.

  • Task Force Black Scorpion trains on the MRAP vehicles

    Mar 13, 2013

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. --In their quest to assume responsibility of the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle drivers training lane, Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 363rd Armored Regiment, Task Force Black Scorpion, 5th Armored Brigade, received extensive training on the vehicle.

  • 5th AR helps assess N.D. Guard unit for crucial capital defense mission

    Mar 13, 2013

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Nearly 200 North Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers completed a pre-certification assessment in Grand Forks and Bismarck, N. D., conducted by members of the 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Task Force Renegade, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West; 263rd Army and Air Missile Defense Command; and 3rd Battalion, 265th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Florida Army National Guard last month.

  • 5th AR tests W.V. Guard unit's EOD skills

    Mar 13, 2013

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- The West Virginia Army National Guard's 753rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company headed out earlier this month to the desert training area here to conduct post-mobilization training before deploying to Afghanistan.

  • Two civilian aides takes oaths of office in ceremony on Rock Island Arsenal

    Mar 11, 2013

    ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Natives of Rock Island and Springfield, Ill., were sworn into their new roles as civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army during an investiture ceremony here Friday. Civilian aides serve as liaisons between the Secretary of the Army and local civic groups and military communities. Retired Rear Admiral Sam Kupresin of Rock Island and former University of Illinois professor Dr. Michael Ayers of Springfield, Ill., were sworn in by the First Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek.

  • 166th AV takes Air Assault students for a ride

    Mar 11, 2013

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- Division West's 166th Aviation Brigade supported the post's new Air Assault School Feb. 26 by providing orientation flights in two Black Hawks for 109 air assault students, most of whom had never before been in a helicopter.

  • Division West serves up humor at prayer breakfast

    Mar 11, 2013

    First Army Division West leaders put these factors to good use in a prayer breakfast at Theodore Roosevelt Dining Facility here March 4.

  • 5th AR Soldiers climb new heights in resiliency

    Mar 11, 2013

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 363rd Regiment (Training Support), Task Force Black Scorpion, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West put the true meaning of resiliency to action during Comprehensive Soldier Family Fitness training here recently.

  • Virtual training puts the 'real' in realistic environment

    Mar 4, 2013

    The Dismounted Soldier Training System and Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 are two virtual training tools that are quickly becoming the norm for Soldiers of the 157th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, in training deploying units at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind.

  • ADA officer's career shoots down gender bias notions for military women

    Mar 1, 2013

    As the recent lifting of the ban on women serving in military combat roles sparks debates over whether women can handle the demands and challenges of certain combat jobs, one Air Defense Artillery officer is proof-positive that women in the military have already proven they can accomplish great things on and off the battlefield, and given the opportunity, will continue to succeed. "It's not really about who you are -- man, woman -- it's what you do that matters. Concentrate on doing your very best as a Soldier; you're a Soldier first," said Col. Carolyn Birchfield, commander of First Army Division West's 402nd Field Artillery Brigade here. "My philosophy has always been to make a difference. Make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you. At the end of the day, we all just want an opportunity." Birchfield said she hasn't experienced any real discrimination or bias during her career.

  • Division West NCO attends battle buddy's White House Medal of Honor ceremony

    Mar 1, 2013

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Soldiers frequently have the privilege of standing in formation while a fellow Soldier is awarded a commander's coin, named NCO of the month, or recognized with an award. However, very few are privileged enough to stand in the East Room of the White House while the President presents their battle buddy from basic training with the nation's highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor, in the name of Congress. Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Harris, assigned to Division West's 181st Infantry Brigade at Fort McCoy, Wis., was one of those privileged few last month.

  • 166th AV, 21st CAV partner to train Texas Guard aviators for deployment

    Feb 28, 2013

    FORT HOOD, Texas - The 166th Aviation Brigade is busy training five units for deployments. One unit in particular, the Texas Army National Guard's Company B, 1st Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment from Houston's Ellington Field, recently passed their validation and will deploy to Afghanistan's Regional Command-South in the coming weeks.

  • 479th FA Soldiers overcome obstacles for PT

    Feb 28, 2013

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, "Warrior Battalion," 393rd Field Artillery Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, took on the Fort Hood Air Assault obstacle course during physical training at Fort Hood, Texas, Feb. 14. The unit conducted nine of the 15 obstacles, finding the most challenging ones to be the "Tough One," "Belly Over" and "Slide for Life." The event proved to be a challenging PT session that increased team cohesion and tested not only the Soldiers' physical ability, but their ability to conquer their fears. At the conclusion of the training, Command Sgt. Maj. Tyson Goolsby, 3rd Battalion, 393rd Field Artillery Regiment command sergeant major, stressed the importance of team work and of having a "work hard, play hard" mentality. Photos by 1st Lt. Todd Cummings, 3rd Battalion, 393rd Field Artillery Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West

  • 'Climbing the Mountain' -- 479th FA provides mountainous operations training

    Feb 27, 2013

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- This region of the state may be right next to the Texas Hill Country, but it is not exactly mountainous. Nevertheless, the 479th Field Artillery Brigade, which provides training, readiness oversight and mobilization support to mobilized Army National Guard and Army Reserve units and active duty forces of all services here, also provides mountainous operations training to deploying units.

  • Gatesville fish fry honors Soldiers, Families, veterans

    Feb 26, 2013

    GATESVILLE, Texas -- The Gatesville Chamber of Commerce hosted its fifth annual Military Appreciation Fish Fry at the Coryell County Activities Complex Feb. 22.

  • Soldiers, students build bond through sweat

    Feb 26, 2013

    Two days, 15 soldiers, 200 students, a little drill and ceremonies, and a lot of sweat added up to the beginnings of a beautiful relationship.

  • 5th AR trains Ariz. MPs for deployment

    Feb 25, 2013

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade conducted training on mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles here recently for Soldiers of the Arizona Army National Guard's 860th Military Police Company from Tucson. The MPs are training for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

  • Wisconsin ADT deploys, assists with farming techniques

    Feb 22, 2013

    Despite a record cold winter, a Wisconsin National Guard Agriculture Development Team recently completed training and deployed to Afghanistan. "The Wisconsin ADT is highly motivated and well trained, and has experience built in with several Soldiers who have been deployed previously, " said Sgt. 1st Class Javier Font, of Cottage Grove, Wis. Font is the medic assigned to the team. Trainer mentors assigned to First Army Division East ensured the team was prepared for all aspects of the ADT mission. The all-encompassing training ranges from land management to primitive farming techniques to providing security.

  • Kentucky NG Soldiers prepare to train Jordanian Army

    Feb 22, 2013

    After several weeks of training at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, more than 170 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers say they are ready to deploy to Jordan to train members of the Jordanian Army. The Soldiers, part of 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery spent their mobilization training focusing not only on their survival skills, but on their trainer-mentor skills. Trainer mentors assigned to First Army Division East's 177th Armored Brigade ensured the NG Soldiers are ready for their upcoming tour. "I see a challenge ahead for all of us," said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Johnson, a 1-623rd platoon leader, a native of Burkesville, Ky. "This is a mission where we are training Soldiers of a different culture."

  • Division West NCO talks Equal Opportunity

    Feb 19, 2013

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- First Army Division West is doing its part in pushing the Army's Equal Opportunity program through the ranks to Soldiers, Families and civilians.

  • First Army Senior Enlisted Aide Provides One-Of-A-Kind Service

    Feb 19, 2013

    Preparing food, cleaning the commander's quarters for visitors and planning a social for a group of distinguished guests can be a daunting task. However, Sgt. 1st Class Sophia Bulham enjoys the opportunity to provide one-of-a-kind service and apply her organizational and culinary skills as the senior enlisted aide for Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, First Army's commanding general. An enlisted aide assists a general officer with accomplishing their primary military and official duties. Aides are graduates of the Advanced Culinary Skills Training Course and the Enlisted Aide Training Course. It is a unique and challenging opportunity to serve with general officers.

  • First Army assists in training active duty unit for KFOR misison

    Feb 13, 2013

    First Army took the fight to Fort Bragg, N.C. in February to help prepare the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade to assume the Kosovo Forces mission of conducting peace support operations in support of civilian authorities. This marks the first time in a decade that an active duty unit has led the KFOR mission.

  • Soldiers support local school reading initiative

    Feb 13, 2013

    A few months ago, Capt. Jose M. Gamboa, B Team Leader, 2-307th Field Artillery Battalion called Andrea Perry, principal of East Side Elementary School to talk about the possibility of his Soldiers supporting a local school. Perry wasted no time. "We jumped at the chance to interact with the Soldiers as it is so beneficial for us to have these Soldiers supporting our initiative on reading," said Perry.

  • Soldiers, Students work to highlight commemorations

    Feb 12, 2013

    "The Sergeant Major of the Army has asked us to get back to basics," Pitt said. "Before 9/11, programs like this were happening on a regular basis, we now have a new generation of leaders that are unaware of this. Therefore, if we do not show them that it is important to be involved with our community, the concept will be lost forever."

  • Division West trains Texas aviators in Apache gunnery

    Feb 8, 2013

    NORTH FORT HOOD, Texas -- Soldiers of the 1-291st Aviation Regiment, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West, conducted gunnery training with a Texas Army National Guard aviation unit on Crittenberger Range Feb. 4.

  • 479th FA supports Houston MLK parade

    Feb 5, 2013

    Maj. John Harrell, at the middle back of the American flag, 1-289th Training Support Battalion, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, First Army, participates in the Martin Luther King Grande Parade in Houston, Texas, Jan. 21. Harrell marched alongside local Army recruiters and high school Junior ROTC seniors. (Courtesy photo)

  • Ariz. Reserve battalion mobilizes to Fort Bliss

    Feb 5, 2013

    FORT BLISS, Texas --January signified not only the beginning of a new year, but also the transition to active duty for the 2nd Battalion, 363rd Training Support Regiment, Task Force Black Scorpion, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, from Mesa, Ariz.

  • Trainer mentors help shape Afghan security environment

    Feb 1, 2013

    More than 3,200 new Afghan National Security Force members recently completed basic weapons and survivability skills training -- their first step toward assuming the security mission for their nation. Trainer Mentor Team-Division East, located at Camp Blackhorse in Afghanistan, deployed in August 2012 in support of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. In partnership with the Afghan National Army brigade staff, the TMTs assists in manning, equipping, and training ANA units in order to deploy them to their assigned Corps.

  • Virtual trainer saves time, money, increases skills

    Jan 31, 2013

    Gamers fire virtual bullets with hand-held controls from the safety of their homes for entertainment. At Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., service members engage targets with real weapons using similar virtual bullet technology but with a very different purpose in mind.

  • 5th AR teams with El Paso students for robotics lesson

    Jan 29, 2013

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- As part of the Partners in Education program, 1st Battalion, 361st Engineer Regiment, Task Force Redhawk, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, recently hosted a field trip here for a group of students from Parkland High School in El Paso, Texas. The field trip gave students an opportunity to see how robotics are designed and operated and how the military uses robotics in daily operations. The students, who are in the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program at Parkland, also got to operate the Talon and Fastac robot systems themselves.

  • Division West conducts change of command ceremony

    Jan 28, 2013

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- First Army Division West welcomed its sixth commanding general in a change of command ceremony on Cameron Field near Division West headquarters here Jan. 23.

  • Fla. Guard Soldiers stand ready to defend nation's capitol

    Jan 25, 2013

    Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery, "Renegades," 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, working with the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, recently completed an Operational Readiness Exercise for the Florida Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 265th ADA Battalion, "Task Force Lightning," within the National Capital Region.

  • New Jersey employers, elected officials watch de-mobilization process of Guard Soldiers

    Jan 24, 2013

    A group of employers and elected officials traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, Jan. 16, 2013, to visit citizen-Soldiers from the New Jersey Army National Guard's 117th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion going through their demobilization process after an almost one-year deployment to Afghanistan.

  • Soldiers mark inauguration as once-in-a-lifetime experience

    Jan 23, 2013

    Breath-taking. Overwhelming. Awe-inspiring. Once in a life time. That's how four Soldiers described their inaugural experience. First Army Division East Soldiers became a part of history Monday when they not only attended the Presidential Inauguration of our 44th president, but also the Commander-in-Chief's Ball. "It was amazing," said Staff Sgt. Nate Gregg, a native of Darlington, S.C. "I've been looking forward to this moment for a very long time, and I was honored to be there."

  • Maryland, California Reserve units learn C-IED fundamentals

    Jan 23, 2013

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade conducted Counter-Improvised Explosive Device training here recently for Soldiers of the 352nd Military Police Company from Maryland and the 382nd Military Police Detachment from California. (Photos by Capt. Lynda Cobb, 1st Battalion, 361st Engineer Battalion, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • Pennsylvania Reserve engineers learn construction skills

    Jan 22, 2013

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade conducted engineer construction training here recently for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 377th Engineer Company. The engineers are training for their deployment to Afghanistan. (Photos by Lt. Col. John Clements, 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • Division West trainer follows in the path of excellence

    Jan 17, 2013

    First Army Division West is known as the training machine, and for good reason. Every year Division West observer controller/trainers in eight brigades train approximately 40,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines for overseas contingency missions. It takes a lot of time, energy and dedication to train all those service members, but, even more important, it takes highly professional and well-trained cadre. Last month, a Division West Soldier earned the highest possible distinction in the third class to graduate the Fort Hood Air Assault School.

  • Soldier epitomizes selfless service

    Jan 16, 2013

    The life of a Soldier -- wake up before dawn, go to formation, conduct physical training, get cleaned up and head to work until at least five o'clock in the evening. At this point, they have already been working for more than 12 hours, but for some, the day doesn't end when they leave the office.

  • 5th AR trains joint warfighters to detect 'insider threats'

    Jan 16, 2013

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Joint warfighters being trained here for deployments by the 1st Battalion, 361st Engineer Battalion, Task Force Redhawk, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, are learning to combat a battlefield threat as old as war itself, but one that is rapidly growing in current operations. An "insider threat" is when an individual or group of individuals working jointly with coalition forces causes intentional harm to resources or capabilities of a unit, or harm that causes a unit to not be able to complete its mission. Insider threats have been a part of every conflict, but this type of threat is on the rise in Afghanistan.

  • Delaware MPs train for Afghan mentor mission

    Jan 16, 2013

    "My first two deployments, I didn't work with local nationals," said Army Sgt. Israel Santiago, a 16-year Army veteran from Wilmington, Del. "This time I'll be working hand-in-hand, one-on-one." "Building effective rapport starts with understanding the culture and environment you are operating in," explained Army Sgt. 1st Class Brian King, trainer/mentor with the 162nd Infantry Brigade. "Identifying patterns in cultures and recognizing differences help us identify ways to establish a common bond."

  • Pa. Guard aviators practice 'dust' landings in Texas desert

    Jan 16, 2013

    A Black Hawk helicopter crewed by Soldiers of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's Company A, 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment makes a difficult dust landing during training with the 166th Aviation Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas, Jan. 7. The Pennsylvania Soldiers are undergoing rigorous training prior to their deployment to Afghanistan. Environmental training, or dust landings, is one of the more challenging portions of training, because the more sand that engulfs a helicopter, the more difficult the landing becomes. The goal is to land the aircraft and take off as quickly and seamlessly as possible. The 166th Aviation Brigade trains Army National Guard and Army Reserve aviation units for 48 days, then either certifies the units' preparedness for deployment or recommends additional training and preparation. (Photo by 1st Lt. Katherine Kaliski, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs)

  • 1,700 Soldiers made it home for the holidays

    Jan 11, 2013

    Before leaving theater, Col. Geoffrey Slack, the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander, stressed the importance of the process to Soldiers and their families, asking them to slow down and take full advantage of the individually based demobilization process.

  • LEAP award winners lauded at Pentagon ceremony

    Jan 10, 2013

    For the fifth year now, practitioners of Lean Six Sigma were recognized, Jan. 10, 2013, for streamlining Army business processes that help save the Army money.

  • Combatives instructors train for combat

    Jan 4, 2013

    "Our trainers have gained an outstanding reputation for their skills and willingness to assist other organizations," commented Col. Craig A. Osborne, commander, 174th Inf Bde. "In addition to the standard mobilization and internal brigade training, we recently trained members of the Air Force Apprehension Avoidance program, the Joint Terrorism Task Force with New York Police Department/FBI, conducted a combatives orientation at West Point, have been conducting monthly training with Philadelphia area Army recruits, and are developing a partnership with three local university ROTC programs." "We train all branches of services here, including the Coast Guard," said Sgt. Miles Noonan, a 174th Inf Bde MACP instructor. "We train civilians as well. In fact, we've teamed up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation field agents from areas ranging from Virginia to upstate New York."

  • Local VFW post names Division West Soldier Teacher of Year

    Jan 4, 2013

    COPPERAS COVE, Texas -- Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8577 named William Brown its 2012 K-5 Teacher of the Year in a Dec. 21 ceremony at Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School here. Brown, who has taught fifth grade social studies at the school for four years, is also an Army Reserve captain and commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-381st Training Support Battalion, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West.

  • Sumrall 6th grade students welcome returning Soldiers

    Jan 2, 2013

    CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Trimming the tree, wrapping presents or making wreaths are beloved traditions of the holidays. Sixth grade students at Sumrall Middle School started their own holiday tradition this year, naming the occasion Adopt-a-Soldier. The students not only gave South Carolina National Guard Soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, a hero's welcome, but also a holiday surprise. The Soldiers recently returned from a deployment security-force in Kuwait.

  • Texas Reserve engineers learn recovery operations

    Dec 26, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently conducted vehicle recovery operations training here for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 321st Engineer Company out of Conroe, Texas. The engineers are preparing for their deployment to Afghanistan. (Photos courtesy 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • 'Renegade' motorcyclists ride to promote safety

    Dec 26, 2012

    Motorcycle enthusiasts from the 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery, Task Force Renegade, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, recently participated in the Fall Joint Armed Forces Motorcycle Safety Rally at Fort Bliss, Texas.

  • Iowa Reserve engineers learn to engage key Afghan leaders

    Dec 21, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade conducted key leader engagement training here earlier this month for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 402nd Engineer Company from Des Moines, Iowa. The engineers are training for their deployment to Afghanistan. (Photos by Lt. Col. Aaron Dorf, 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • 402nd Field Artillery Brigade members join elite Order of Saint Barbara

    Dec 21, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- Several military and civilian members of the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade were inducted into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara, an honorary society of the U.S. Artillery Branches, as part of the Saint Barbara's Day Ball ceremonies at East Fort Bliss' Centennial Banquet and Conference Center Dec. 14.

  • Reserve engineers learn to engage key Afghan leaders

    Dec 20, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently conducted key leader engagement training here for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 704th Engineer Company from Hot Springs, Ark. The engineers are training for their deployment to Regional Command West in Afghanistan. (Photos courtesy 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • SFA AT cultivating Afghan relationships

    Dec 20, 2012

    FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Soldiers from the 205th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, Security Force Assistance Advisor Team spent the last nine months building relationships with Afghan National Army and key Afghan forces while deployed to the Kandahar Province, Kandahar City, Afghanistan.

  • Chief Chaplain gains insights into reserve-component deployment needs

    Dec 20, 2012

    The U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains and his sergeant major visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., recently to gain a better understanding of First Army Division East's purpose and mission.

  • Soldiers show students a day in the life of the Army

    Dec 20, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas -- Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Warhawg, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, recently volunteered to help Collins Elementary School during the school's annual career day here.

  • Task Force Warhawg supports Celebration of Lights parade

    Dec 20, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas -- The 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, "Task Force Warhawg," 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, and the Child Crisis Center of El Paso partnered for the 77th annual "Celebration of Lights" parade that brought thousands of spectators to the city's downtown streets earlier this month.

  • Task Force Renegade Family member recognized for volunteerism

    Dec 20, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- The Family Readiness Group leader for 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment "Task Force Renegade," 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, was awarded the Dr. Mary E. Walker Award in a Dec. 10 ceremony at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy here.

  • Patriots interfaith prayer breakfast promotes resilience, understanding

    Dec 20, 2012

    The 174th Infantry Brigade's monthly prayer breakfast may have started out like many others, but not everyone expected what was to come. After everyone had a chance to eat and get settled in, the Chaplain called two Soldiers to the front of the room and asked everyone to stand for the program's opening prayer. Everyone stood and bowed their heads. Muhammad, an Army staff sergeant and linguist, lifted his hands and began praying -- in Arabic. He offered a Muslim prayer of blessing for everyone in the room, the food, the leaders appointed over him, and the organization. When he finished, Sami, also a linguist and Army staff sergeant, came forward wearing his yarmulke and offered a traditional Jewish prayer of "Grace After Meals" -- in Hebrew.

  • 'Dragon Strike' Battalion holds Military Ball

    Dec 19, 2012

    DALLAS -- Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 381st Regiment "Dragon Strike," 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, held their annual Military Ball earlier this month at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service World Headquarters Skyline Lounge here.

  • BOSSE TAKES COMMAND OF THE 87th USAR SUPPORT COMMAND (EAST)

    Dec 19, 2012

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Soldiers and Civilians of the 87th United States Army Reserve Support Command (East) and the 1st Mobilization Support Group took part in a change of command ceremony December 16, 2012 in Birmingham, Ala. During the ceremony Col. Steve W. Ainsworth relinquished control of the command to Col. Pete Bosse.

  • 120th Infantry Brigade trains 311th ESC for deployment to Afghanistan

    Dec 18, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- The 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) participated in exercise "Unified Endeavor" during December at North Fort Hood. The exercise included both live and computer-aided virtual events, all focused on mission command training.

  • Division West officers train for Best Ranger competition

    Dec 18, 2012

    First Army, supported by Division West, conducted training Fort Hood, Texas, earlier this month to select a team to represent the command at the upcoming 30th annual Best Ranger Competition.

  • Change of stole ceremony welcomes new Division West chaplain

    Dec 18, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- Change of command and change of responsibility ceremonies are routine in the Army. The coming and going of leaders will always be a part of our military. However, First Army Division West recently recognized a change of leadership with a less-than-routine ceremony. Soldiers in the division bid farewell to their spiritual leader in a Change of Stole and retirement ceremony at the 25th Street Chapel near division headquarters here Dec. 14.

  • 'Black Scorpions' prepare for mobilization training mission

    Dec 18, 2012

    For Soldiers of the 2-363rd Training Support Battalion "Black Scorpions," 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, from Mesa, Ariz., annual training at McGregor Range, N.M., this year marked the culminating event of months of hard work preparing for a one-year mobilization.

  • 402nd FA Soldiers share Meals Ready to Eat with Partners in Education students

    Dec 14, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas -- There were no surprises as to the most popular food items from various Meals Ready to Eat that 402nd Field Artillery Brigade Soldiers recently shared with their Partners in Education students at Dr. Sue Shook Elementary School.

  • 479th FA commander helps honor Pearl Harbor veterans

    Dec 14, 2012

    Col. Richard Creed Jr., standing, commander of Division West's 479th Field Artillery Brigade, talks with veterans of the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, Dec. 7. Creed was guest speaker for a ceremony attended by hundreds to honor four Pearl Harbor veterans in attendance and all those who have served. "As long as we grow heroes like the ones we found in 1941, and 2001, our world will be a safer and more secure place in which to live," Creed said. (Photo by Lt. Col. Richard Shevlin, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs)

  • 5th AR Bde. trainers master remote-controlled mine-clearing system

    Dec 13, 2012

    "Never send a man to do a machine's job."

  • Soldiers, students send holiday cheer downrange

    Dec 12, 2012

    GATESVILLE, Texas -- First Army Division West's 166th Aviation Brigade and its Adopt-a-School partner, Gatesville Elementary School, are broadening the nature of their relationship for an end-of-year seasonally inspired project. The two are assembling holiday care packages to send to deployed service members.

  • Safety program saves lives

    Dec 12, 2012

    FIRST ARMY DIVISION EAST, FORT MEADE, MD -- First Army Division East's safety record showed significant improvement during FY 2012, with only one reported fatality this year as opposed to three last year.

  • Historic First Army deployments end with warm welcome home

    Dec 11, 2012

    After several months of deployment for a train-and-advise mission supporting the Afghanistan National Security Forces, First Army Division West Soldiers were celebrated in a 'Welcome Home' ceremony here Dec. 10.

  • Celebrate sensibly, not senselessly this holiday season

    Dec 10, 2012

    Typically, the holiday season is synonymous with celebration, but Army leaders want Soldiers, Civilians and Family members to make safety part of their plans.

  • Mobilization training includes SHARP awareness

    Dec 7, 2012

    FORT STEWART Ga., -- In 2012, the Army implemented training programs to increase awareness and reduce the number of sexual harassment and assault incidences. First Army Division East incorporated scenario-driven training into mission-specific mobilization training provided to deploying Reserve Component Soldiers to increase realism and relevancy.

  • Overseas Etiquette 101: 5th AR linguists enhance training for deploying units

    Dec 6, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- The ancient proverb "when in Rome, do as the Romans do," still applies to modern conflict, particularly in counterinsurgency doctrine. The 5th Armored Brigade's Language Lab, where joint warfighters are trained for deployments, is centered on the concept that success in the battlefield requires a working knowledge of the local environment, language, customs, and even values. These serve as the foundation from which alliances are built, information is gathered, areas are secured, and long-term regional stability is ultimately established.

  • 5th AR trains Reserve engineers for deployment

    Dec 6, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently conducted route clearance patrol training at McGregor Range, N.M., for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 704th Engineer Company from Hot Springs, Ark. The engineers are training for their deployment to Regional Command West in Afghanistan. (Photos courtesy 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • New York National Guard Soldiers start transition home

    Dec 5, 2012

    That's the guidance Col. Geoffrey Slack, the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander, and other leaders are stressing this holiday season to redeploying National Guard Soldiers. The Soldiers deployed earlier this year to various locations throughout the Middle East.

  • 166th AV to execute helocast during Best Ranger Competition

    Dec 4, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas, -- First Army is hosting its very own Best Ranger Competition here this week to select a team to go on to compete nationally next spring at the Army's Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • 479th FA Soldiers restore historic Dulaney Cemetery

    Dec 4, 2012

    BELTON, Texas --Soldiers of the 479th Field Artillery Brigade's 3-395th Armored Battalion recently executed another chapter of their restoration efforts on the Dulaney Cemetery located on the A.C. Ray Ranch here.

  • Division West supports Army's SHARP program

    Dec 3, 2012

    In September 2008, the United States Army started a new campaign to foster even greater awareness for its approach on combating and preventing sexual harassment and assault.

  • Task Force Warhawg celebrates Veterans Day with partner school

    Dec 3, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas --Sgt. Maj. Riley Woodworth, 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment sergeant major, was guest speaker at the recent Collins Elementary School annual Veterans Day ceremony here.

  • 402nd FA supports German Day of Mourning ceremony

    Nov 29, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas --The color guard of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, displayed the American colors in the German Air Force's observance of Volkstrauertag, or National Day of Mourning, at Fort Bliss National Cemetery Nov. 18.

  • 5th AR leaders serve Thanksgiving meal to joint warfighters

    Nov 29, 2012

    McGREGOR BASE CAMP, N.M.-- On most other days, 5th Armored Brigade leaders manage training schedules, lead training meetings and train joint warfighters for their upcoming deployments, but on Thanksgiving Day, those leaders donned serving aprons and chef's hats to provide service members a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

  • Division West unit reaches out to community for Veterans Day

    Nov 29, 2012

    TRACEY, Calif. -- Veterans and service members all over the world were thanked for their contributions to the United States Nov. 11. Three days earlier, troops from 1-363rd Training Support Battalion, 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West, visited George Kelly Elementary School here in an effort to give back to the community.

  • Increase in mission set brings new training to JB MDL

    Nov 29, 2012

    In an aim to balance mission sets and numbers of troops deploying at each First Army Mobilization Force Generation Installation, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. will soon add police mentorship and the law and order mission to its vast spectrum of maneuver, fires, and effects training.

  • 402nd FA, 5th AR host First Army commander's visit

    Nov 27, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- First Army commanding general, Lt. Gen. J. Michael Bednarek, took a few "rocks in his rucksack" back with him to his headquarters in Rock Island, Ill., after visiting the 402nd Field Artillery and 5th Armored Brigades here recently.

  • 5th AR prepares to train ND Guard artillery unit for DC mission

    Nov 20, 2012

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Trainers from Division West's 5th Armored Brigade have been tasked to ensure a North Dakota Army National Guard unit is ready to defend the nation's capital.

  • Division West NCO becomes U.S. citizen

    Nov 20, 2012

    Staff Sgt. Pantaleon Montes, an infantry Soldier with the 2-393rd Infantry Battalion, 120th Infantry Brigade, became a U.S. citizen in a naturalization ceremony at III Corps Headquarters Nov. 16.

  • 5th AR trains warfighters for worldwide deployments

    Nov 20, 2012

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Since 2001, the Alpha Team engineers of 2nd Battalion, 361st Combat Support Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, while mobilized to Fort Bliss, Texas, have trained thousands of Joint Warfighters for deployments to various military operations.

  • 85th SC helps honor veterans during Chicago Bears Veterans Day game

    Nov 19, 2012

    CHICAGO -- The Army Reserve's 85th Support Command, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., supported the Army Public Affairs midwest office in the annual Chicago Bears Veterans Day game highlighting the many service members of the Chicago-land community.

  • 5th AR conducts route clearance training for deploying Reserve engineers

    Nov 16, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently trained the Army Reserve's 402nd Engineer Company on route clearance procedures here before the engineers deploy to Afghanistan. The unit, out of Des Moines, Iowa, trained on route clearance-specific tasks, giving Soldiers hands-on experience with route clearance equipment and noncommissioned officers the opportunity to assess their Soldiers.

  • 402nd FA invites Families, 'fur kids' to PRT

    Nov 16, 2012

    Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, trek up McKelligon Canyon Road near Fort Bliss, Texas, at "o-dark-thirty" for their physical readiness training Nov. 2. The Soldiers invited Family members, including "fur kids," to join them on the last of their early-morning PRT sessions. The unit will conduct afternoon PRT until spring. (Photos by Staff Sgt. Patricia Deal, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs)

  • 402nd FA hosts German/U.S. marksmanship badge training

    Nov 16, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- The German Air Force's (Luftwaffe) German Air Defense Center has been a member of Team Bliss for more than 40 years, and the relationship continues to be enhanced and grown in joint efforts. Over the past three years, Team Bliss has trained and qualified more than 400 U.S. Soldiers with German Proficiency Badges and more than 200 German Airmen from both Fort Bliss and Holloman Air Force Base with U.S. Army Marksmanship Badges.

  • Calif. Guard aviators train for Afghanistan mission

    Nov 14, 2012

    The California Army National Guard's Company B, 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, one of the oldest Chinook helicopter units in the Army, recently mobilized to Fort Hood, Texas, to prepare for a mission to Afghanistan.

  • TF Rampant Soldiers train with Route Clearance Husky Trainer

    Nov 13, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Noncommissioned officers from the 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, Task Force Rampant, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, recently participated in a train-the-trainer course here for the HUSKY Vehicle Mounted Mine Detection Cause and Effect System trainer, known as the HMDS-CES. The training system, which was tested and evaluated at Fort Bliss, Texas, last summer, uses a much less expensive radio frequency identification technology to simulate ground penetrating radar detection of buried threats. The HMDS-CES was designated as the primary trainer for units deploying for overseas contingency operations.

  • Gatesville, Division West honor veterans

    Nov 13, 2012

    GATESVILLE, Texas -- The city of Gatesville, with the aid of First Army Division West, honored veterans of the United States Armed Forces with a ceremony on the local football field Nov. 9.

  • Web base program tracks, validates National Guard, Reserves

    Nov 13, 2012

    CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Last year, more than 19,000 Reserve Component Soldiers, under the guidance and oversight of First Army Division East, mobilized, trained and deployed worldwide. Tracking and maintaining all the required Army training plus the required First Army mobilization training wasn't possible using the current software platform. Soldiers at the 177th Armored Brigade, however, didn't let that stand in their way.

  • Family legacy of service spans decades

    Nov 13, 2012

    FORT MEADE, Md. -- It's amazing how things come full circle by the simplest of happenstances. Earlier this year when Kevin Colyer received his maternal grandfather Lt. Col (retired) Robert David Orcutt's Army Class A uniform and other memorabilia from his Army career, he wanted to create a shadow box to honor his grandfather. But what he found was something that connects his present to his grandfather's past. And it made him not only remember, but want to know more.

  • NC NG learn de-escalation techniques for Sinai deployment

    Nov 9, 2012

    It's an exotic dance. The men try to grab the Soldiers' feet. SLAM! The lite weight practice shields hit the ground. Another man takes a running start at the middle of the formation, and the Soldiers lean their practice shields forward, blocking him. Finally, someone throws a gravel-filled bottle at a Soldier's head; the plastic shield comes up, just enough -- and in time -- to deflect it. The Soldiers aren't in any real danger today. But the realistic training they receive from First Army Division East trainers now, before they deploy to the Sinai could keep them from being hurt or worse in the future.

  • WWII veteran inspires grandson's Army service

    Nov 9, 2012

    CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Growing up, 1st Lt. Rodney Brock with the 177th Armored Brigade, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, enjoyed his grandfather's Navy stories about World War II, and looked to him for guidance before joining the Army. Ultimately, these stories and his grandfather's example influenced Brock decision to join the Army. "He told me all the things that he liked about his commanders during WWII. He also said that he thought I exhibited a lot of those same traits and that if I chose to join, I would be a good leader to my Soldiers," said Brock. He said he would be proud of me either way," said Brock. "He didn't push me into the decision." "So I joined, and I visited him the day that I came back from Fort Lewis as a freshly minted second lieutenant," said Brock. "He said it was one of the proudest days of his life." When it comes to following a family member into the military, Brock isn't alone. According to a survey released last year by the Pew Research Center, approximately 79 percent of today's veterans followed in a family member's footsteps. This is almost 18 percent higher than the general public. Serving can be considered a family business, Brock said, since several other members of his family have served as well. Typically his grandfather would only tell the hilarious stories about WWII, he never really talked much about the horrors he faced until I came back from my first deployment, said Brock. It wasn't until Brock decided to help his grandfather receive recognition for his actions on Omaha Beach on D-Day that he saw parallels between their two careers. "My grandfather suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," said Brock. "I know how bad it was, and I am proud to work done at the 177th Armored Brigade, First Army Division East and First Army to help Soldiers deal with it today." The 177th mobilizes and demobilizes units under guidance from First Army Division East and First Army. The care and concern that is shown to all Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airman when they return home is outstanding, so they don't suffer from PTSD alone the way his grandpa had to, explained Brock. First Army works with the Army's Medical Command, the Veteran's Administration and other organizations to ensure every single redeploying Reserve and National Guard Soldiers are correctly evaluated and receive the medical and behavioral health assistance they need. When Brock first returned from Iraq, he and his grandfather talked about his experiences. It brought them closer and Brock better understood the demons his grandfather fought alone for so long. Over the years Russell had put his memories of his military service on tape, capturing the thoughts and emotions of a man who has walked through and seen the anguish of war. "It seemed like the Iraq war brought back so many memories of the war," says Russell in his memoirs. "Many nights I had nightmares that I was still fighting the Germans." Russell was among the first to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day. The images he saw that day haunted him for years. "Everybody was wet, hungry and afraid; food had been scarce for almost three days. We were towing a LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) I think, a boat to carry the Rangers on it to hit the beach hard as they could," states Russell in his memoirs. "We had to watch the horrors of the men and parts of men that had been destroyed. The beaches were being cluttered with broken equipment and GI's who had suffered the supreme sacrifice. Yes, the heroes were placed in the soil on Normandy," recalled Russell. "It was hard to think that in just 10 months from Normandy, I was in Okinawa fighting for my life and others," said Russell. After D-Day, Russell, a Gunners Mate 2nd Class, served with a crew of about 70 crewmen and seven officers on the USS LCS (L) 86, also known as the 'Mighty Midget.' Many men and officers received special awards for bravery; the entire ship crew received The Presidential Unit Citation for heroic duty in supporting the landing at Okinawa. Russell, who has been legally blind now for five years, said the VA furnished him with a machine that helped him read. He began reading a little book titled "God's promise, ask and ye shall receive," while struggling with PTSD resulting from his experiences in both France and Okinawa. It took a lot of prayer, faith, medical help, and the love of family, but Brock said his grandfather has won most of his PTSD battle. "One night I had a dream," said Russell in his memoirs. "I had my pack upon my back and I was walking through the streets of home. God was saying my child it is over now; do not fear for you are safe now. Since then I have not had any problems with my thoughts and memories." After knowing what his grandfather went through and knowing how he suffered, Brock said he is proud of the unit he works for and the job they do, in helping Soldiers transition thru the demobilization process after they return from combat. And it was through his assignment at Camp Shelby that Brock found a way to honor his grandfather. "I spend a lot of time at the museum. I like to look around during my lunch," said Brock. "While I was there I picked up a flyer that said Veterans that served in France during WWII were now eligible to receive the Legion of Honor." Brock decided he would submit his grandfather's information and ensure he received the recognition he deserved. Brock started putting the required paperwork together in early January 2012 and submitted it to the Atlanta Consulates' office. He didn't hear anything back for five months. In late June, his grandmother received a letter from the French Ambassador stating Oscar Russell had been appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. "We were beyond excited," said Brock. "My grandmother called and said she had received a big envelope. She opened it and read it to me on the phone; it came as a huge surprise to us." Brock's grandfather, Oscar Russell, was honored for his service during WWII, at a ceremony at The Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby on Aug. 15. France's Lt. Col. Philippe Testart, French liaison officer to the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning Ga., and Honorary Consult to Mississippi, Keltoum Rouland, presented Russell the Legion of Honor and the accompanying title of Knight or Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Receiving the award on the arm of his grandson brought his service full circle for Russell. When Testart, awarded Russell the medal, he recalled a passage from Russell's memoirs. "Many men did not make it to enjoy the freedoms of jobs, peace and contentment, the love of children, parents and family," Testart read from Russell's memoirs. "We that lived should never boast as heroes."

  • 5th AR's Renegade Battalion refines MRAP training

    Nov 8, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE BASE CAMP, N.M. -- The Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle training mission was foreign to the Renegade Battalion, 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade until January 2012 when the Coyote Battalion, who previously owned the mission, redeployed to its home station. Typically, air defenders don't work with MRAPs. But the battalion's observer controller/trainers trained for the mission and worked intently to redevelop and refine the training lane after taking over.

  • World War II Veteran shares memories, history of lineage with current generation

    Nov 7, 2012

    "It was 1942 the last time I was there," Leon Tarter remembered about Camp Atterbury, Ind. "They asked if anyone wanted to be a truck driver. Well, I was only eighteen years old, and I said yes, I wanted to be a truck driver. So they asked me if I could drive a big truck, and I said, 'yes I can.' The next day they had me pushing a wheel barrow while we were picking up trash."

  • 402nd FA Soldiers march in adopted school's Halloween Parade

    Nov 7, 2012

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