U.S. Army Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Brigade, and the Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment, conduct sling-load operations at Fort Stewart, Ga., June 14, 2022. The Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise includes approximately 4,400 brigade personnel from throughout Georgia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tori Miller)
U.S. Army Soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Brigade, and the Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment, conduct sling-load operations at Fort Stewart, Ga., June 14, 2022. The Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise includes approximately 4,400 brigade personnel from throughout Georgia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tori Miller) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Tori Miller) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT STEWART, Ga. – The Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is participating in the Exportable Combat Training Capability June 14-26.

The XCTC is the U.S. Army National Guard’s program of record that enables brigade combat teams to achieve the trained platoon readiness necessary to deploy. Commanders will use this exercise to assess their unit’s capabilities during live-fire activities and controlled scenarios. Approximately 4,400 Soldiers are representing and supporting the 48th IBCT during XCTC.

The brigade will be evaluated on a spectrum of mission essential tasks to ensure Soldier readiness in volatile and diverse combat environments. These tasks include mortar and platoon live fire, anti-armor ambush, urban warfare, air reconnaissance and assault.

During the first hours of the exercise, Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment, conducted sling-load operations with M119 howitzers and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Aircrews with the 4th Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, an Active-Duty Component, assisted Bravo Battery Soldiers in elevator lifts in preparation for their air assault evaluations.

“We are conducting elevator lift training in preparation for our air assault training table certification,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Crosby, a cannon crewmember. “These pieces of training allow us to go through the inspections that we need to safely fly these howitzers around from range to range to conduct live-fire range operations.”

Carrying cargo using the sling load method allows the 118th howitzers and personnel to overcome terrain obstacles.

Working again with units from the 3rd Infantry Division strengthens the partnerships and interoperability between the U.S. Army Active and Reserve Components. The 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and 3rd Infantry Division partnered five years ago under the U.S. Army Associated Unit Program. The AUP aligns U.S. Army National Guard brigade combat teams under an active-duty division to provide an additional trained, ready, and relevant force.

“We love training with the Georgia National Guard because they are right in our backyard,” said Capt. Chelsea Menser, a platoon leader with 4th Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade. “We can all be deployed downrange together someday, so conducting training together while we are here at our home station allows us to establish a relationship and improve our interoperability.”

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