May 05, 2014, TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Georgia Guard members will be in Central America in May and June training the Honduran military in law enforcement operations, close quarters combat operations and combat life saving operations. These Citizen-Soldiers will help nearly 250 Hondurans build capacity and capability to combat transnational criminal organizations and drug trafficking organizations.
The Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is the first National Guard IBCT to execute missions under the Department of Defense’s regionally aligned forces program. The 48th IBCT is working with U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Army South, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in an effort to strengthen alliances, build new partnerships and forge coalitions of common interest that help resolve problems and prevent conflict.
“We are well-suited to promote partnership between U.S. Southern Command, Army South, and the government of Honduras,” said Lt. Col. Matt Smith, 48th IBCT deputy commander. “We believe Citizen-Soldiers are uniquely qualified to partner with other nations due to the extensive civilian skill sets and experiences we bring to the process. Our partner nations gain from our Guardsmen’s military and civilian experiences, while our Guardsmen sustain their expeditionary mindset and broaden their professional experiences.”
Regionally aligned forces (RAF) are deliberately prepared to support the Department Of Defense with mission-ready forces and capabilities that are further prepared with cultural, regional and language focused training. Forces can be drawn from the Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Department of the Army civilians, in order to operate within the current Army budget and not require new funding.
“We are sending over four waves of Georgia Guardsmen, about 60 at a time, so we can expose more Citizen- Soldiers to this training opportunity,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth Hutnick, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment’s battalion commander. “We have been training hard for the last two years to be ready and are fortunate to have so many volunteers for this mission.”
Alpha Company, 1-121 IN, out of Lawrenceville, will conduct combatives training for the Honduran military. Bravo Company, 1-121 IN, out of Covington, will conduct close quarters combat and military operations on urbanized terrain (CQB/MOUT) training. Charlie Company, 1-121 IN, out of Gainesville, will conduct law enforcement training focusing on personnel and vehicle search operations for the Honduran military. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-121 IN, out of Winder, will conduct combat life saver training. Delta Company, 1-121 IN, out of Milledgeville, will facilitate the culminating event where the Honduran military members will be challenged with a situational training exercise that incorporates all the lessons learned from earlier training.
“The 48th IBCT was the perfect choice for the RAF mission, because National Guard Bureau knew that the unit was fully trained and available, as the first unit to fully execute the Army National Guard’s training strategy,” said Smith.
The National Guard training strategy is designed to invest in readiness through progressive training over time, rather than buying readiness just before the unit deploys. Fully exercising the training strategy allows the Army National Guard to internally produce trained and ready units pre-mobilization. In addition to saving taxpayer money, this strategy keeps formations at a higher level of readiness throughout the training cycle, enabling the National Guard to provide the Department of Defense with combat-ready platoons and companies when they need them.
“Training for unified land operations prepares our Citizen-Soldiers for the most demanding mission,” said Hutnick. “The beauty of the Guard is that we are able to leverage the military training of our Soldiers, with their civilian careers like our police officers, correction officers and military members who work in Georgia’s Counter Drug Program.”