CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. -- Soldiers from the 188th Infantry ‘Battle Ready’ Brigade, headquartered at Fort Stewart, Ga., assisted the 205th Infantry Brigade in conducting a culminating training event for the Kentucky National Guard’s 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

The Soldiers of the 149th MEB arrived at the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center June 4 to complete necessary training and validation requirements in preparation for the unit’s upcoming deployment to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. The validation event comprised a five-day training scenario, July 15-21, where the 149th MEB proved they were capable of bringing together all the skills they learned.

“The culminating training event, or CTE, is the most important training for the 149th MEB,” said Col. Timothy E. Newsome, commander of the 205th Infantry Brigade, the lead training brigade for the mobilization of the 149th MEB. “It is the capstone exercise wherein all of the individual skills and lower level collective skills that the 149th MEB has spent the last five weeks training on are meshed together into a brigade level mission set.”

To train and validate Army Reserve and National Guard brigade combat teams for deployment, First Army has organized its forces into operations brigades like the 205th supported by training readiness brigades like the 188th. The operations brigades are headquartered at the mobilization training centers to command and control the training and validation events. The training readiness brigades provide experienced and theater relevant trainers to mentor the BCTs as they execute these events.

“It takes Soldiers to train Soldiers,” Newsome said. “The Soldiers sent by the 188th have always been top-notch professionals with a get-after-it attitude that allows us to provide the exceptional training that will prepare the fine troops of the 149th MEB for a successful execution of their mission.”

The main unit that the 188th was tasked to train will be responsible for conducting convoy security force missions in southern Iraq, said Capt. Daniel McKeel, operations officer-in-charge, 2-306th Regiment.

“They will be conducting convoys for the movement of personnel and equipment throughout the country,” McKeel said.

While the 188th cannot recreate an authentic physical environment of Iraq in Indiana, it can get them to exercise their systems, their processes, command and control, and troop leading procedures, added McKeel.

“[We’re] incorporating the latest tactics, techniques and procedures from the field, so once they get there, they will know the battle drills and they will hit the ground running.”

Capt. Philip Padron, commander of D/1-149th MEB, and native of Louisville, Ky., said that the training he and his Soldiers received set them up for success.

“The trainer mentors have been very helpful. They are combat-experienced, subject-matter experts who are well versed in the latest tactics, techniques and procedures. We are fortunate to have learned from them,” he said.

Newsome said that all First Army Division East Soldiers strive for excellence in what they do daily.

“First Army Soldiers are enthusiastic and passionate about their role in the training and preparation of the great Soldiers who comprise the 149th MEB because we believe the parents of these Soldiers would want us to be nothing less than passionate about that training.”

The 149th MEB will conclude training and validation for deployment to Iraq at the end of July.

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