FORT STEWART, GA -- It is a Soldier's responsibility to be trained and ready for deployment. For this reason the 260th Quartermaster Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade traveled to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., to conduct extensive hands-on training that simulate a variety of situations.

The training covers issues the unit may encounter during their deployment ranging from managing logistics to encountering hostile fire. The quartermaster battalion is scheduled to deploy in May and is taking every training advantage the Army has to offer.

"NTC is probably our best opportunity to train without any kind of distraction," said Maj. Jesse Wightman, executive officer for the 260th QM Bn. "The training is important so that they are prepared once we deploy to do the job that is expected of them and so they can focus and build confidence in their specific duty."

The battalion traveled to Fort Irwin because of the post's reputation for training Soldiers and for the similar weather and climate to Iraq.

"This is where they've been training brigade level and battalion level units for a long time," Wightman said. "They (Fort Irwin) have a lot of training resources that Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield can not provide."

At NTC, the Soldiers learn the level of preparation it takes to head overseas.
"We get the chance to get prepared for what we are going to face in Iraq, get prepared to be separated from Families for an extended period of time," said Spc. Matthew Vogler, 260th QM.

The Soldiers live, work, eat and sleep as if they were deployed. They go through situations in elaborately constructed Iraqi-like towns filled with Soldiers, most of whom have been deployed themselves, dressed up as Iraqi civilians.

"This helps us get a feel for what it will be like," said Pfc. Russel Durham, 260th QM. "We get some of the basic stuff down. We also learn what it feels like to be away from our Families.
"I learn something new everyday," continued Wightman. "If you ever stop learning then I believe you stop living. You should not let a day go by and not have learned something new."