530 reserve soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of The Louisiana National Guard are training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi.The Acadiana Battalion is taking part in an annual three-week event known as the XCTC Exercise. The soldiers are leading up to a mission to put what they’ve learned to the test.Josh Meny and Photojournalist John Lee followed their exercises on the field. A change in training style is preparing the soldiers to be ready at the President’s orders. "The fight that we’ve had since 9/11 has been more a counter-insurgency fight. This is more of a decisive action operation type of fight. And, we’re going back to training for those types of actions," explained 2nd Battalion Commander Scott Desormeaux. Those actions are part of large-scale training in case of deployment during war. In the overall mission, the actual soldiers, who make up the fictional enemy are U.S. Army Infantry who have come to Camp Shelby from other states. "The enemy in this situation is called the Republic of Ariana which is a fictional nation designed by the U.S. Army to represent what we would call a near-peer adversary," explained Staff Intelligence Officer Wesley Jones."What you’ve witnessed has been lanes training, where we’ve been doing very specific training each day, in different tasks that we need to be proficient at," explained 2nd Battalion Commander Scott Desormeaux.As part of the Live Fire Breach Mission, the infantry tactfully provided support fire and a powerful detonation. The exercise was designed to translate into real combat. "The enemy in this scenario is designed to very very closely mirror several other different nations, not exactly, but to very closely mirror several other nations that use the same types of equipment, and strategies, and organizations that the enemy does in this scenario," explained Staff Intelligence Officer Wesley Jones.The last three days of training will be a culmination of all the work the soldier has put in, leading up to what is known as a force on force fight. "The brigade will do an assault into an area of Camp Shelby, and there will be an enemy that we will be fighting against. And, everything we’ve practiced in the lanes we’ll put together as one big operation," explained 2nd Battalion Commander Scott Desormeaux. While the Guard’s first and foremost objective is protecting the state, if they are called upon by the President to fight in a large scale operation, these soldiers will be "always ready, always there."
Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 18:44:23-04
Copyright 2021 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.