Observer Coach/Trainers assigned to 5th Armored Brigade, First Army Division West, trained, validated, and prepared for deployment Soldiers assigned to the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment, Minnesota National Guard, at Dona Anna, N.M.
Soldiers of the 194th CAB, who will be deploying to the Middle East in support of Task Force Spartan, trained on individual weapon qualification including the M4 carbine, M17 pistol, M240 machine gun, and M249 light machine gun. Among other training events, First Army OC/Ts coached on squad live fire exercises, counter improvised explosive device, counter unmanned aerial systems, and combat life saver course.
Capt. Michael Bogda, a company team commander, said that the training was a good experience for the Soldiers because they all had the opportunity to be coached by the knowledgeable and experienced OC/Ts in 5th Armored.
“Everything went fairly smooth,” Bogda said. “There is a lot more maneuver space down here. It is not necessarily something we can always get done up in Minnesota, but down here, we had full availability of the land, so that was pretty nice.”
Being his first mobilization training experience, Bogda said the OC/T’s were helpful and patient during the exercise. They also had a great relationship with the Soldiers.
"I enjoyed working and training with the [194 CAB],” said Sgt. Pollyanna Tanuvasa, an OC/T assigned to 5th Armored Brigade. “They were very professional. They were able to, not only succeed in their CTE (culminating training event) as well as the STX (situational training exercise) lanes that we provided, but they were also able to bring some of their experiences and knowledge from their previous deployments as well which added to our tool kit.”
In addition, Tanuvasa said it was unique to see how Soldiers of 194th CAB stayed competent and focused throughout their CTE. They wanted to be prepared in every aspect for their deployment.
“I have full confidence with my company, with the training and experience here,” Bogda said. “We can hop on any mission overseas and be perfectly alright doing it.”
The Task Force Spartan deployment will continue 1-194's rich lineage, which includes the 194th Tank Battalion becoming the first U.S. armored force to deploy overseas. Members of that battalion fought during the Battle of Bataan and endured the infamous Bataan Death March.