Camp Pendleton hosts busy training weekend

Airmen for the Power Production Shop of the Camp Pendleton-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron train on the employment of the Mobile Aircraft Arresting System Jan. 11, 2015, at the Virginia National Guard's Camp Pendleton Collective Training Center in Virginia Beach, Va. Aircraft arresting systems use a length of cable stretched across a runway to bring aircraft safely to a complete stop on their own. More than 600 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force as well as U. S. Army Reserve Soldiers conducted a variety of training and administrative activities during the busy drill weekend. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Airmen for the Power Production Shop of the Camp Pendleton-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron train on the employment of the Mobile Aircraft Arresting System Jan. 11, 2015, at the Virginia National Guard’s Camp Pendleton Collective Training Center in Virginia Beach, Va. Aircraft arresting systems use a length of cable stretched across a runway to bring aircraft safely to a complete stop on their own. More than 600 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force as well as U. S. Army Reserve Soldiers conducted a variety of training and administrative activities during the busy drill weekend. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

CAMP PENDLETON, Va. — More than 600 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force as well as U. S. Army Reserve Soldiers conducted a variety of hands on and virtual training and administrative activities Jan. 10 -11, 2015, at the Virginia National Guard’s Camp Pendleton Collective Training Center in Virginia Beach, Va. Training and administrative activities including physical fitness, weapons qualification, periodic health assessments, records review, annual briefings, field artillery crew drills and section certification, setting up and operating a tactical communications package, simulated call for artillery fire and employment of the mobile arresting aircraft system. Also, construction continued on the first phase of a new multipurpose training facility.

“We love coming to Camp Pendleton because we have access to so many different types of terrain that are attractive to us a cavalry squadron,” said Maj. Brett Gibson, operations officer for the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “We have a dismounted reconnaissance troop that sometimes needs access to water, and we have that here. We have mounted reconnaissance troops who can use the open areas for motorized maneuver. There are also great classroom and administrative facilities, and we have access to billeting. It really checks all the boxes.”

In addition to the field training areas, Gibson also said they regularly take advantage of the many different types of simulators available on post as well as the classrooms and administrative spaces. During this drill weekend, the Fort Pickett-based Medical Command hosted a Periodic Health Assessment for the squadron as well as other units to help Soldiers maintain the appropriate level of medical readiness. Soldiers from the Camp Pendleton-based Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducted call for fire training using the Virtual Battlespace Simulator.

Other units took advantage of the post’s field training resources over the weekend with Soldiers from the U. S. Army Reserve’s Fort Story-based Company C, 437th Civil Affairs Battalion conducting weapons qualification and Soldiers from the Norfolk-based Battery B, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducting crew drills and section certification training in preparation for upcoming live fire exercises.

The post also is home to several units who regularly take advantage of the training areas. Airmen for the Power Production Shop of the Camp Pendleton-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron trained on the employment of the Mobile Aircraft Arresting System using the small airfield. VDF members from Company B, 1st Regiment trained on the set up and operation of the Tactical Communications Package, or TacPak. The TacPak provides wireless internet access, cellular phone, satellite voice and data and video conferencing capabilities.

For units in the Hampton Roads area, training at Camp Pendleton also means cost savings.

“It is nice to have this available to us,” said Capt. Capt. James Partamian, commander of Company C, 437th Civil Affairs Battalion. “As funding diminishes, being able to combine the Guard and Reserve and using a lot of the same facilities saves money.”

Camp Pendleton is also improving on the facilities available for units to use. Construction continued this weekend on the first phase of a multipurpose training facility which will cost an estimated $1.8 million, occupy 1.5 acres and include two 70-feet by 120-feet steel framed tensioned fabric structures and two 180-feet square grids where military units can set up their tactical operations center equipment and conduct battalion, brigade and division-level command post exercises. The facility can also be used as a staging area for Virginia National Guard units preparing for National Guard civil support missions when on state active duty. In addition to use by tenant organizations such as the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron and the Commonwealth ChalleNGe, the new facility can also be used by other Department of Defense and public safety training customers.

Camp Pendleton is a state-owned, 328-acre installation that provides training facilities for National Guard units, as well as all other DOD active and reserve units and public safety organizations. The post features administrative buildings, conference facilities, barracks, classrooms, dining facilities, a live-fire qualification range and nine different virtual trainers as well as a chapel, fitness center, distance learning center, wooded training areas, helipad, land navigation course and military access beach and amphibious landing site.

Photos on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157649848972150/