Louisiana National Guard training exercise simulates offensive in large-scale war

Posted at 11:43 AM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-25 12:43:57-04

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 eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise.Josh Meny and Photojournalist John Lee were embedded with the Breaux Bridge Alpha Company as they conducted what is known as a combined forces live fire breach mission.The company spent several hours preparing for the exercise.Safety is the number one priority which is why they trained for hours before using live ammo and an explosive. "This is training, mistakes will be made. It’s to correct them here before we ever head down range,” explained Squad Leader Joseph Huffman.The live fire breach utilizes two units; a light infantry and a motorized company that offers fire support for the foot soldiers."Initially we established support by fire which is where we had a motorized company and a squad from the infantry platoon putting support by fire on the objective,” explained 2nd Battalion Commander Scott Desormeaux.The enemy object was protected by an obstacle, an imaginary barbed wire, that the company needed to breach."So, the engineers went forward with Bangalor Torpedos.  It comes in sections that you screw together and you slide it,” explained Desormeaux.Once the explosive was placed, it was detonated by engineers, clearing a hole in the enemy line to make way for the infantry to advance. The soldiers successfully completed the mission with no injuries.The exercise was unique for the brigade because they hadn’t done one like it in more than fifteen years."The fight that we’ve had since 911 has been more of a counter-insurgency fight. This is more of a decisive action operation type fight,” explained Desormeaux.That means instead of training to fight terrorists, the exercises this year are specifically designed to simulate the U.S. Army fighting against another large army in a conventional war."In the very beginning of Saving Private Ryan when they hit that beach at the very beginning they ran into a wire obstacle. And the only way they could get through that wire obstacle was for the engineers to lay the Bangalor Torpedos underneath it, and then blow a whole through it, so the infantry could assault through,” explained Desormeaux.