MANHATTAN, Kan. – The 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, held a training conference for multiple leaders across its formation, Nov. 2, 2022, at the Kansas State Student Union in Manhattan.
The multi-purpose event was held to help leaders understand the operational environment of Eastern Europe, communicate purpose and provide an opportunity to develop training plans for their upcoming deployment. Additionally, the conference also provided leader development for those who would be serving in new leadership positions in Europe’s operational environment for the first time.
“This conference communicates purpose, develops leaders and turns our division and brigade commanders’ intent into a comprehensive and synchronized plan that enables us to master the fundamentals of warfighting, as well as build capacity and interoperability among NATO partners and demonstrate American resolve,” said Lt. Col. John Vickery, the battalion commander of the 1st Bn., 18th Inf. Regt., 2nd ABCT, 1st Inf. Div. “If we don’t spend time doing that, then we’ll just be reacting to contact. It’s my responsibility to make sure that’s not the case.”
1st Bn. 18th Inf. Regt., known as “Vanguards,” will deploy to Europe and aims to set the standard for the rest of the brigade in theatre. Although the battalion will fall under the 101st Airborne Division in Europe, they are proud to represent the Big Red One and continue to support the commanding general’s priorities.
Several guest speakers were present at the conference, among which were Dr. Susan M. Yelich Biniecki, a professor of adult learning and leadership from Kansas State University, and Maj. Nicholas Salimbene, a company commander from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade.
The conference was equally important and useful to the battalion’s senior leaders as it was to the more junior ones. One such leader, Sgt. 1st Class Isaac Busch, an infantry platoon sergeant with the battalion, found the conference to be much more useful and insightful than typical pre-deployment trainings.
“These kinds of briefings are normal as far as deployments go, but this smaller setting specifically really allows us to get into details,” Busch said. “Rather than being tailored to mass audiences, doing something like this allows us to share our collective experiences and be on the same page as we filter information down to our formations.”
The battalion has one of the most important jobs in the brigade, according to Busch. “We are going to be in the spotlight for local populations and forces, as well as the rest of the brigade and division. As the only 1st Inf. Div. Soldiers out there, there is no overhead for us.”
The Vanguard’s motto, straight from the unit crest, is “IN OMNIA PARATUS,” which means ‘Ready for Anything.’ According to Vickery, they’ll be upholding and living by that motto during the deployment.
Busch had one last thing to say to say about this unit, “As far as units on Fort Riley go, the Vanguards are the most capable and most prepared to handle this mission. We are ready!”
The battalion commander had a message for family, friends and allies both at home and abroad.
“You can rest assured- you can count on the Vanguards, second brigade and the First Division,” Vickery said. “As we continue to get better every day, I am confident that our Soldiers will exceed expectations in Europe and beyond.”