INDIANAPOLIS - Approximately 1,400 Indiana Citizen-Soldiers from across the state and with the National Guard's 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Lawrence, will train overseas this summer in a series of exercises known as Pacific Pathways.

This marks the first time in the four-year history of Pacific Pathways that a National Guard unit will lead and have command and control of all units training in the exercises that run from June to September.

"Our participation in Pacific Pathways addresses a number of important challenges for the military, including the coordination and logistics necessary to move troops, equipment and supplies into the Pacific theater from the heart of the continental United States," said Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, the adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard and former commander of the 76th. "Camp Atterbury ramped up to serve this mission, and we will use this exercise to test our Soldiers' ability to sustain the readiness they achieved during training last summer at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana."

Pacific Pathways is a yearlong series of exercises that support U.S. Indo-Pacific Command with allied and partners militaries into a single operation. The exercise builds foreign partner interoperability, capacity, cooperation and relationships.

Guard members are uniquely postured for this mission by years of training with partnered nations and bringing civilian-acquired skills to their military training.

"Participation in Pacific Pathways is a once in a life time opportunity for our 76th IBCT Soldiers to interact with coalition partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region," said Lt. Col. Mike Grundman, the brigade's deputy commander. "Our Citizen-Soldiers, available to support our communities in times of crises, continue to prove their value as ambassadors of our nation and as an integral part of our nation's defense structure."

Grundman, who deployed in 2017 with the 38th Infantry Division, brings a wealth of experience working with a partnered nation. His Soldiers and him worked as a train, advise and assist team for nine months in Afghanistan and served as mentors for that country's security forces.

For nearly 25 years, Indiana National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have trained alongside Slovak armed forces members as part of the Defense Department State Partnership Program.

Hoosier National Guard members also picked up another partnership in 2017 with the African country of Niger.