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MORE than 600 soldiers of the Guam Army National Guard are heading to California for three weeks of annual training.
They include soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, and its affiliated Forward Support Company, F Company and 29th Brigade Support Battalion.
The training is focused on individual and squad-level training for soldiers assigned to the battalion in preparation for its pending deployment to Afghanistan early next year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“This annual training is our first real opportunity to allow our soldiers the chance to complete a significant amount of the many pre-deployment training requirements. This training is necessary to ensure all of our soldiers are trained and qualified to meet the rigors of deployment and to ensure their safe return home,” Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, 1-294th IN commander, said.
Several states with Air National Guard assets are supporting the air movement, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Maine Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
The battalion’s training will be at Camp Roberts, which is normally used by Army National Guard and Army Reserve units for their collective training. The Maneuver Training Center at Camp Roberts covers a 42,361-acre site and is considered the largest training area under the control of the California Army National Guard.
The movement of a huge group for annual training will provide opportunities for the unit to look at how well they can execute their movement plans, among other things, according to Maj. Gen. Benny M. Paulino, adjutant general for the Guam Army National Guard.
“A deployment like this allows us to go through the process of moving personnel and equipment, and exercise rear detachment operations and family support procedures,” Paulino said.
The alert order is a step in the process leading to mobilization. It also gives the GUARNG and the 1-294th Infantry Regiment the time and resources it needs to meet the training and validation requirements before the unit reports to its mobilization station, and complete training before deploying into their area of operations.
The 1-294th Infantry Regiment is composed of soldiers from Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.