Missouri National Guard conduct infantry training in Boonville
BOONVILLE — Despite the cold temperatures and the impending winter storm threatening the area, Missouri National Guard Soldiers from Company A, 1-138th Infantry, joined with their fellow Soldiers from Company D to perform a combined operation mission in Boonville.
Operations around the city of Boonville are familiar to the Soldiers of Company A, who considers Boonville their home town. Since activating in 2008, the company has performed multiple exercises in and around the town, often utilizing the closed Kemper Military Academy as an urban operations training site. Joining with another company on such a large scale operation, however, was a new experience.
“Training with the other companies, and mounted units in general, is important in order for us to understand the advantages and capabilities that we may have access to during a deployment, “said Sgt. Dustin Duran, a team leader.
Company D, located in the southern Missouri towns of Anderson and Monett, is the heavy weapons company of the 1-138th. Their mission is designed to support the infantry line companies, such as Company A, with supporting fire from their .50 caliber machine guns and up-armored Humvees. Company D made the five-hour trip north for the joint training opportunity.
As in years past, the full-time staff of Company A made sure to coordinate with the local community before conducting such a large scale training event. The Boonville Police Department, Cooper County Sherriff’s Office, multiple city offices and regional Emergency Operations Center were all contacted in the weeks leading up to the exercise. Members of the Boonville Police SWAT Team assisted with the training.
Officer James Deckard, and two fellow officers, acted as enemy forces during the final assault on the Kemper barracks. Using their civilian law enforcement experience, they took the opportunity to act as ‘bad guys’ to help train the Missouri Guard Soldiers.
In addition to running missions around the Kemper complex, other missions were run in the woods north of the armory. The exercises were designed to test the Soldiers on their land navigation skills and moving through rough terrain as a large group.
To add an element of realism to the operations, they used blank ammunition and artillery simulators. The “thump thump thump” of the .50 caliber machine guns could be heard sporadically during both days of the exercise, along with the occasional “BANG” of an artillery simulator. The added realism had Soldiers from both companies ducking.
Despite the inclement weather moving into the area on Saturday, the commanders of both companies, Capt. Thomas Grayson, of Company A, and Capt. Gary Fleck, of Company D, were able to complete the final operation. This meant they were able to execute a combined movement to Kemper, a raid on the barracks building, apprehend of a high-value target, and complete withdrawal from the area.
Both units will be training together again this summer during the 1-138th Infantry Regiment annual training in Wyoming, as well as more combined training at Fort Chaffee, Ark., in the fall.
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