Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 117th Field Artillery Regiment, Alabama Army National Guard, load and tie down their vehicles for train transport back to Andalusia, Alabama during Operation Western Strike at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming.
The event was an emergency deployment readiness training and field artillery gunnery exercise that took place early last year. It involved all 1,200 of the personnel that make up the 142nd’s five battalions – consisting of three battalions from Arkansas, one battalion from Alabama and one battalion from Tennessee.
In addition to personnel, the training required hundreds of vehicles, including 12 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs), brought by the 142nd’s 1st Battalion; 12 M777 towed Howitzers, brought by the 142nd’s 2nd Battalion; 12 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), brought by the 1st Battalion, 181st Field Artillery Regiment, Tennessee Army National Guard; a dozen Paladin Howitzers, brought by the 117th Field Artillery Regiment, Alabama Army National Guard; plus high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, light medium tactical vehicles, ambulances, fuelers and gun trucks brought by a combination of the participating States.
“You know the last time the brigade executed a movement of this sort was more than 20 years ago when the brigade deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm,” said COL Jaskolski. “I think this is the first time in recent history that we’ve actually used the complete railhead facility there at Fort Chaffee [Maneuver Training Center, Arkansas,] in order to deploy every single piece of rolling stock we have.”