First Army prepares the 56th SBCT for Combat

Monday January 26, 2009

What is it?

The 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), Pennsylvania Army National Guard, is the Army's only reserve-component Stryker Brigade. It was mobilized in September 2008 to conduct full-spectrum operations in Iraq. Currently, Reserve units can only be mobilized up to 12 months, making the 56th maximized at their training time with the assistance of First Army at multiple sites across the country, including Camp Shelby, Miss., and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, La.

How did the Army prepare the 56th?

The complexity and scope of the training required by the 56th was beyond the capability of any single training support brigade. The 56th was assisted by a "team of teams" of active, reserve and civilian organizations assembled by First Army and led by the 157th Infantry Brigade. The 157th is one of First Army's 16 training support brigades (TSBs) that trains and validates Army National Guard and reserve units for deployment. To successfully prepare them for their historic mission, the training team incorporated five brigade-level units, four installations, a division staff and numerous contractors.

A critical element of this effort was the partnership and support provided by the 4th SBCT, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash., who provided numerous combat counterparts from battalion commanders and command sergeants major to squad leaders. These Soldiers and leaders recently returned from Iraq and had current combat experience that reinforced the expertise unique to First Army units which was established specifically for the 56th - the 1-307th Training Support Battalion (Stryker). The 1-307th, located in Pennsylvania, has been providing assistance since the 56th was reorganized in 2004.

The 157th received additional augmentation from many other TSBs, particularly the 177th Armored Brigade, Camp Shelby, Miss., and the 72nd Field Artillery Brigade, Fort Dix, N.J., and the First Army Division East staff. Other support came from 15 different agencies for intelligence specific training; the 4th Brigade, 75th Training Division that supported a progressive series of staff training exercises; and numerous contractors with expertise in the cutting-edge technology available to all of the Army's Stryker brigades.

Why is this important to the Army?

Such combined training teams routinely assembled by First Army ensures every reserve-component unit, such as the 56th, has the essential skills and procedures needed to successfully conduct operations on today's complex battlefield.

Resources:

First Army Web site

Pennsylvania Army National Guard

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