By 1st Lt. Nikki McWilliamsMay 2, 2017
HODGES, S.C. - U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) and National Guard Bureau (NGB) leadership visited with Soldiers of the South Carolina National Guard at the Hodges Training Site, Feb. 4, 2017.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David Isaacson, FORSCOM Deputy Chief of Staff - Signal, and U.S. Army Col. Bob Quinker, NGB - Signal, and fellow senior staff members toured the state's recently established tactical training base, providing field conditions supporting tactical training for company and battalion-sized elements. The site serves as a deployment and employment location in support of signal missions across the state and the country. It also helps increase unit cohesion, improves administrative efficiencies, maintenance capabilities, and increases flexibility in training.
"The overall concept of Hodges [Training Site] is very valuable and has...the capability for Guardsmen to get the training right away, without having a lot of buildup and teardown...which increases the time of actual training," said Isaacson.
The Hodges Training Site offers a FOB-like environment able to support and facilitate training; enable ad hoc mission organization; provide company training flexibility; empower team leaders; and generate adaptable leaders.
Leadership with the 151st Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) conducted research and found the traditional National Guard signal training to be inefficient. They concluded that three field training exercises per year, plus annual training does not provide enough time to generate qualified and confident junior leaders.
For this reason, the new model at Hodges was developed to build Soldiers' confidence and allow leadership to gain an understanding of the capabilities of the unit to prepare teams of employment. The model was successfully tested and implemented at the Hodges National Guard Training Site.
"This increases the number of training days by fifty percent that Signal Soldiers spend on equipment by having a constant field-based environment," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Carl Young, 151st ESB commander.
Hodges National Guard Training Site's first year in operation has played host to several high-ranking military officials visiting to see the capabilities of the site and enabled a First Army-evaluated culminating training event in support of a signal deployment. Additionally, having training sites at the home station armories enables commanders with the South Carolina National Guard to have equipment ready and available, providing expedited access to training, increased readiness, and operational availability.
Hodges Training Site will serve as deployment and employment point for signal missions to unify South Carolina Army National throughout the state and nation.