National Guard Specialized Training

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

"This prepares the soldiers for when they come upon a threat. They need a quick reaction," says Captain Lawrence Joiner with Kentucky National Guard.

The soldiers are taught close range marksmanship, so if a threat comes at them when they are in Iraq their response will be a natural reaction.

Joiner says, "It's a teaching process. Not just aim and point. But what do I need to do if this threat engages me?"

It is something soldiers we spoke to are grateful for.

Derrick Wray with Kentucky National Guard says, "I feel really comfortable with my training. I've got a great team. My platoon is great. My platoon sergeant is an awesome guy. So yeah, I feel pretty comfortable going over there now."

They are also receiving valuable training in other areas.

Joiner says, "Mounted engagement small arms training. This means they are actually in a vehicle, riding. It simulates combat as you are riding down the road and you get attacked by the threat."

The training course at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center is one of the first courses in the nation to have this particular type of training for soldiers. When soldiers come back from R & R they tell people here it's some of the most valuable training they had while they were in Iraq.

Joiner says, "I've talked to three soldiers that have been deployed with Kentucky National Guard. Their convoys have got hit by the threat. They said the first thing they remember is the training they received at the Wendell H. Ford Training Center."

The exercise teaches soldiers how to be cautious when firing their weapons from a moving vehicle and in the exercise live ammo is used.

Joiner says, "It's dangerous. We put a lot of safety into the training. But they are going to encounter this when we deploy to Iraq."

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