By Sgt. Karen SampsonNovember 9, 2016
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Louisiana National Guardsmen participated in the past three exercises of 2016 at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center.
JMRC's training area is a frequent location for these Louisiana Guardsmen's annual training. The Infantry Soldiers from Breaux Bridge, La., play an essential part of training fellow Soldiers and allies.
The 2-156th Infantry Battalion has integrated over the course of the past three exercises as a combat force with the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment here at JMRC, to act as opposing forces. In one exercise, the guardsmen were also attached to the training unit as a regular maneuver unit for the exercise. .
"Our mission this rotation -- in comparison to the other rotations, is different," said 1st Lt. Brian O'Malley, Executive Officer for Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment of the Louisiana National Guard. "We are helping prepare Albanian, Armenian and U.S. Forces for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo," said O'Malley.
The Kosovo Forces 22 mission rehearsal exercise is designed to prepare the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, along with their attached Regular Army and multinational units, for peace support, stability, and contingency operations in Kosovo in support of civil authorities to maintain a safe and secure environment. KFOR 22 hosts 1200 soldiers from nine nations. The exercise runs from Oct. 18 through Nov. 10.
"Our role for KFOR 22, A Co., 2-156th In. Regt. are augmenting the OPFOR and acting as a civilian populace who are unhappy with the state of the government," said Sgt. William Shepard, Platoon Sergeant for A Co., 2-156th In. Regt. "We instigate protests which escalate into riots."
As part of the KFOR deployment exercise, Albanian, Armenian and U.S. Forces are trained by JMRC to de escalate riots with non-lethal force.
"KFOR 22 is a great mission for our infantry, said Shepard. "Riot Control is physically demanding training."
The Louisiana Guardsmen dedicate more of their time for JMRC than what is expected for annual training, Shepard added.
"We come to Germany every year to assist in the training, he said. "The extended time helps our mentorship with our lower enlisted Soldiers and the consistent location builds our rapport with allied forces."