The Army’s highest ranking general visited with Soldiers and various unit leaders at the National Training Center during a trip to the high desert, Jan. 30.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno met with NTC and Fort Irwin commander Maj. Gen. Ted Martin, Operations Group officers, and leadership of the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division – which wrapped up a four-week training rotation at the NTC.
Odierno was briefed at a high-tech complex where OPS GRP personnel monitor rotational unit’s training taking place in the sprawling terrain of the NTC (1,200 square miles). The briefing described for Odierno the challenges 3-2 SBCT encountered during its decisive action training. The training environment pitted the brigade against an opposition that included paramilitary, insurgents, criminal elements and conventional forces. Odierno, a field artillery officer, reinforced the significance of keeping conventional warfighting skills sets current with Soldiers.
Later that morning, Odierno visited leadership of 3-2 SBCT at their tactical operations center in the training area. He then met with Soldiers of A Battery, 1-37 Field Artillery, 3-2 SBCT. The NTC allows for units, such as the 1-37 FA, to train on almost any weapons system. Units can perform live-fire of artillery, mortars, main tank guns, and even request air support from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.
Odierno also conducted a working lunch in the field with leaders of teams within OPS GRP. The battalion-size unit is comprised of 15 teams – each with a specialty and led by a lieutenant colonel. The teams are staffed by Soldiers who serve as observer/coach/trainers, or OCT’s. Their evaluation of the training is indispensible and key to the NTC’s significance to the Army.
The four-star general described the NTC as a place where units, such as the 3-2 SBCT, can maneuver over long distances and be faced with complex challenges. The NTC allows the rebuilding of readiness to ensure the Army is prepared for the next fight, he said. Another significance of the NTC, as one of three combat training centers, is that it provides opportunities for leader development.
Odierno’s goal is to have every battalion and brigade commander go through a combat training center.
“This is a leader development laboratory that is critical to the development of all of our future non-commission officers and officers,” Odierno said.
The Army’s top general expressed appreciation for the Soldiers, Families and civilians of the NTC and Fort Irwin.
“I thank the Families for their support of their Soldiers,” Odierno said. “I thank the Soldiers for what they’re doing to make our Army better. It’s very, very critical for our future.”