65th FAB Leads Multi-State XCTC Exercise at Orchard Combat Training Center in Idaho | Article











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Pfc. Ryder Koon, a combat engineer with the 833rd Engineer Company, Iowa National Guard, fires a .50 caliber machine gun while Spc. Shawn Swanson spots targets during Western Strike 22, June 5, 2022, at the Combat Training Center in Orchard, Idaho. Western Strike 22 is an exportable combat training capabilities exercise led by the Utah National Guard’s 65th Field Artillery Brigade, which provides National Guard Soldiers with submerged training similar to a center of combat training and aims to increase the readiness and lethality of the participating unit. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Bunn)
(Photo credit: Sergeant James Bunn)


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West Strike 22








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Two M109 Paladins move into firing position during Exercise Western Strike22 at Orchard Combat Training Center, Idaho, June 6. Several artillery units will certify during the exercise, ensuring they are ready to be called upon in support of operations around the world. Western Strike 22 is an exportable combat training capabilities exercise led by the Utah National Guard’s 65th Field Artillery Brigade, which provides National Guard Soldiers with submerged training similar to a center of combat training and aims to increase the readiness and lethality of the participating unit. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Ariel J. Solomon)
(Photo credit: Sgt. Ariel Solomon)


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West Strike 22








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A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System engages its target during a qualification event during Western Strike 22 at the Combat Training Center in Orchard, Idaho on June 6, 2022. Western Strike 22 is a exportable combat training capabilities exercise led by the 65th Field Artillery Brigade, which provides National Guard soldiers have undergone submerged training similar to a combat training center and aims to increase the readiness of readiness and lethality of the participating unit. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Alejandro Lucero)
(Photo credit: SPC. Alejandro Lucero)


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The Utah National Guard’s 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,” participates in Western Strike 22, a large-scale, multi-state field artillery training exercise, from 7-16 June 2022, at Orchard Combat Training Center near Boise, Idaho.

Western Strike 22 is an exportable combat training capabilities exercise that provides National Guard units with highly immersive, fully instrumented training comparable to a combat training center.

“The 65th Field Artillery Brigade has spent 15 months planning and preparing for Western Strike 22, which will focus on mastering platoon and squad level fundamentals for large-scale combat operations” , said Colonel Shawn Fuellenbach, commander of the 65th Field Artillery Brigade. “My training goal for America’s Thunder is to build lethal, cohesive, highly trained and disciplined teams ready to fight and win.”

The XCTC will allow the 65th FAB to train with its subordinate and partner units that are normally stationed in other geographic locations across the country. Approximately 2,000 National Guard soldiers from California, Iowa, North Carolina and Utah and soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Texas are participating in the XCTC. Other Utah National Guard units that will be incorporated into the exercise are the 2nd General Aviation Support Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, which will provide air and medical evacuation support; 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne); and the 1457th Engineer Battalion, which will conduct specialized training.

First Army active duty counterparts will evaluate participating soldiers on readiness objectives and situational training exercises. The exercise is designed to give brigade and battalion personnel the knowledge and experience to synchronize fires in a multi-echelon environment. The XCTC will consist of multiple squad, platoon and battery sized artillery and rocket events.

XCTC training aims to increase the readiness and lethality of participating units by providing multi-echelon training in a tactical field environment.

The Utah National Guard proudly serves with nearly 7,300 Soldiers and Airmen trained, equipped, and ready to support operations around the world.

The Idaho Army National Guard’s Orchard Combat Training Center is located 18 miles south of Boise. The 143,000-acre training center offers expansive terrain and world-class ranges to prepare brigade combat teams and other units for combat in a challenging and realistic training environment.

For more information on this training and photos and video footage, please visit www.dvidshub.net and use the search term WesternStrike22.

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