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Posted: November 17, 2017 9:53 a.m.
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Raider completes rotation to the NTC

Spc. Therell Frett/

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 2-7 Inf., 1ABCT, 3rd ID, moves to simulated contact in an M1A2 Abrams Tank during Decisive Action Rotation 18-01 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., Oct. 22.

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“We want you to have your worst day here.”

Those were the words welcoming Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division “Raider Brigade” and enabler units as they arrived at Fort Irwin, Calif., for National Training Center Decisive Action Rotation 18-01.

The training is challenging and realistic and the goal is to prepare units for combat by ensuring their hardest days are training and learning in the Mojave Desert and not on the battlefield. 

The approximately month long rotations are designed to stress every unit, staff section, and system that a brigade combat team employs. The scenarios adapt to meet the current real world threats and potential enemies a brigade combat team could potentially face.

Raider Brigade Command Sgt. Major Robert Leimer, first came to NTC in 1988 and said the biggest change since then is how the rotational units are contested in every phase of the operation.

“When I first started coming to the National Training Center the schedule was predictable, you had a day for planning, a day for rehearsals and a day to fight,” said Leimer. “Now with the new open phasing concept the enemy is relentless and always testing your abilities 24/7.”

A constant enemy threat in every domain makes even routine activities challenging and forces Soldiers at all levels to plan and manage every hour of the day.

“The most valuable training takeaway from this rotation to me was time management,” said Leimer. “I realize that prioritizing your activities at the NTC is important and is the difference between a successful or a substandard rotation.”

The Raider Brigade began preparing for NTC in the summer with individual training and progressed to platoon and company level live-fire exercises before arriving at Fort Irwin. While the training at Fort Stewart couldn’t match the complexity of NTC, it was crucial in preparing the battalions for the multitude of missions they had to execute.

“The most challenging aspect of NTC was the pace of operations, often our battalion was planning two or three operations while executing another,” said Maj. Wade Hatzinger, operations officer, 1st Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, 1st ABCT, 3ID. “Home station training enabled our battalion and subordinate units to establish the systems necessary to react quickly to changes in our plans due to changes in the enemy situation.”

While the primary focus of NTC is training, moving a 4400-Soldier task force across the country to train in an unforgiving and desolate environment is just as complicated and challenging an operation.

Task Force Raider consisted of over 250 tracked vehicles, over 600 other vehicles, and numerous other containers and special equipment said Maj. Jeremy Glenz, brigade S4. Operations to move all the equipment to Fort Irwin began in early September and will continue until several weeks after the training portion of the rotation is complete.


Task Force Raider consisted of all organic units from the brigade, the 83rd Chemical Battalion and the 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion both from Fort Stewart, from the Army Reserve, and additional engineer, human resources, military police, military intelligence, and other units from across the Army.

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