Story by CPT Amy Hanna on 07/17/2016FORT POLK, La. -- The New York Army National Guard shipped more than 5,400 tons of vehicles and equipment from Fort Drum, N.Y. to Fort Polk, La., Friday, June 21 in preparation for the Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team training at the Joint Readiness Training Center, July 9-30, 2016.
The movement of more than twelve million pounds included six battalions' worth of equipment and their tactical vehicles, including 68 shipping containers and more than 1,000 vehicles and trailers. About 335 of those vehicles and trailers traveled via rail with the remainder moving to Fort Polk, La. by tractor trailer.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Keller, Mobility Warrant Officer for the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters and officer in charge of the central receiving and shipping point or CRSP and the container yard on Fort Polk, La., said preparations for this exercise has been longer than a year.
"It's a lot of work to coordinate this much equipment," Keller said. "I arrived ten days before anyone else and I will be the last one to leave Fort Polk to make sure everything is accounted for."
The JRTC allows Army units to conduct combat training in a realistic environment which features a well-trained opposing force, civilian role-players on the battlefield, high-tech systems which monitor the action and observer-controllers to evaluate unit actions.
Fellow New York Army National Guard Soldiers from Company E, 427th Brigade Support Battalion or BSB arrived at the container yard to move their equipment from their container to a waiting vehicle to prepare for the combat training exercise Thursday, July 14, 2016. Approximately 3,000 New York Army National Guard Soldiers deployed to Fort Polk, La., for the month-long JRTC rotation.
For Pfc. Robert Andriola, a wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to Company E, this is his first time in a training environment this complex.
"It's a great experience to refresh our skills and do our job with the battalion and brigade elements," Andriola said.
The company provides logistical support to the New York Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry during the exercise, explained Staff Sgt. Charles Laraway, the maintenance section squad leader.
"We are looking forward to supporting the 2-108th Infantry during JRTC and making sure we do the best we can to ensure a successful rotation," Laraway said.
The Soldiers of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team joined another 2,000 Soldiers from other state Army National Guard units, active Army and Army Reserve troops to hone their skills and practice integrating combat operations ranging from infantry troops engaging in close combat with the enemy to artillery and air strikes.