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News | June 6, 2024

Wisconsin Army Guard’s ‘Red Arrow’ brigade begins major training event

By Staff Sgt. Katie Volkman

During the past week more than 5,000 Soldiers from across the United States, along with support elements from Canada, have arrived at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) on Fort Johnson, Louisiana to take part in a month-long training exercise led by the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT).

Training exercises at the JRTC allow brigade combat teams to experience simulated large-scale combat operations. For the National Guard, these opportunities are hard to come by, with only two rotations each year being set aside for National Guard brigade combat teams.

Col. Matthew Elder, 32nd IBCT commander, believes it is important to make the most of these multi-echelon training events.

“For Guard units specifically, this is what we call a generational training opportunity,” Elder said. “As the Army transitions from the global war on terror and trains to build readiness towards large-scale combat, that’s how we need to be prepared to fight in the future.”

Though troops will be at the JRTC for about a month, the main training exercise takes place over the course of two weeks, with live fire exercises and simulated force-on-force engagements that will put the 32nd IBCT and their enablers from the other states and countries to the test.

Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron Johnson, the 32nd IBCT senior enlisted leader, emphasized that it takes a team effort, with good communication and collaboration, to accomplish an exercise of this size.

“As the main BCT of this exercise, the 32nd is the headliner, but any success we have here can be attributed to those across the National Guard,” Johnson said, “from the highest levels of leadership to the individuals from all 24 states who came here to support this exercise.”

The JRTC and Fort Johnson prepare multi-component units and Soldiers for combat. Due to operational requirements and the size of the force, the Army depends on the National Guard and Reserve components to complete its missions around the world. Training sustains the Total Army force’s readiness, while reassuring the nation’s allies and deterring potential adversaries. The JRTC forges alliances and partnerships and provides a lethal force that is ready to fight today and in the future.