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Tennessee National Guard’s 278th Training in Texas

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 | 08:07am

FORT HOOD, Texas - Tennessee’s largest National Guard unit, the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment headquartered in Knoxville, has begun training at Fort Hood, Texas.  The training is part of a month-long eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program developed by the Army National Guard.

Over 3,000 Tennessee Guard men and women are currently preparing for a complex field training exercise simulating their warfighting mission to certify their skills in platoon level tasks. This training is all part of a new program designed for brigade combat teams, like the 278th, to become more proficient and prepared for potential deployments as part of the Army’s Sustainable Readiness Model (SRM).  The SRM is more adaptable, agile and flexible than previous force generation concepts and provides a higher level of readiness across the Army.

.The 278th is one of the National Guard’s five brigade combat teams scheduled for intensive rotational training in the coming months and years. They will deploy to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California for more advanced training next year. This is all part of the Army’s plan to prepare and train Guard units in the same manner as active units.

“A few months ago this was just a concept on a piece of paper,” said Brig. Gen. Tommy Baker, Tennessee’s Assistant Adjutant General – Army, while visiting guardsmen last week. “And now you’re seeing the execution and the fruition of a plan starting to come together.”

For the last 30 days, Guardsmen have been engaged in numerous activities to prepare for this training. Maintenance, railhead operations, site preparation, and convoy operations throughout Tennessee are just a few of the tasks conducted to plan and prepare for this major exercise.  The XCTC will challenge every Soldier that participates, and will prepare them to be more effective in their primary job functions. XCTC training is conducted in lanes that are customized to meet the Commander’s objectives and encompass maneuver and support units.  Lanes may include ambushes, company hasty attack, platoon movement to contact, brief recon missions, vehicle recovery, and more.  The training is designed to be as realistic as possible.

Tennessee is not the only state participating in this XCTC. Units from six states, three of which belong to the Army Reserve, will serve various functions throughout the exercise to enhance their own skills based on the type of mission they perform. Soldiers from Kansas, Idaho, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico are all participating alongside the 278th.

“For spouses and family members who have loved ones in the Guard, they’re used to us operating in a different zip code,” said Baker. “But it’s critical to our readiness to make sure we can conduct the mission successfully wherever we’re called on to do it. So I just want to thank them for their support because their loved ones couldn’t be here without it.”