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Annual Training Heads South
Photos and story by Capt. Jon Powers, 444MPAD

Sgt. Mauricio Acosta (left) grimaces as Pfc. Lesterdan Manuyag (right) applies a collar choke he just learned during combatives training at the Santa Fe Regional Training Institute.

These are the volunteers. Field Artillery, the recently combined Armor and Cavalry units along with Army and Air Guard medical support who volunteered to participate in Operation Jump Start in New Mexico.

From July 21 to August 10, more than 200 National Guard Soldiers directly supported the Customs and Border Protection effort to control the border region. Some did less work than they expected while others got a life lesson they will never forget.


“These guys are hard chargers. They’re here because they want to do it and we will do it as a family,” said 1st Sgt. Christopher Sheridan, 2nd Battalion, 102nd Reconnaissance, Surveillance Target, Acquisition (RSTA).

The initial destination after departing the West Orange Armory was the Regional Training Institute (RTI) for the New Mexico National Guard located in Santa Fe. There the Soldiers received two full days of briefings and training designed to set the baseline of knowledge for the mission, along with equipment and radio procedures to be used in the border protection mission.

Although the circumstances requiring the use of physical force were unlikely, the Soldiers were given Army combatives training in weapon retention, ground fighting and hand-to-hand combat. They were also given the chance at “hooah” training on the rappelling wall, obstacle course and fast-rope tower. With an operational focus, classes on the Avenger Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) system and Customs and Border Protection radio procedures rounded out the Soldiers operational knowledge of OJS.
“The curriculum is taken from the real world experiences of the instructors,” said Sgt. Brian Philipbar, Instructor, RTI Combat Arms Training Company. “Ninety percent of all fights involve the [techniques] we teach here – we assume zero knowledge of the students – the moves we teach are basic, frequently used and memorable.”
Members of the 2nd Squadron, 102nd Cavalry, were destined for Las Playas, N.M., as they transitioned from training to operations. Under the supervision of the durational force from the Arkansas Guard they received additional training, including instruction on the command laser unit (CLU) and site specific details while they spent their extended AT of three weeks in the desert.

Master Sgt. Michael Steck, 3rd Battalion, 112th Field Artillery demonstrates close quarter fighting techniques during weapon retention training at the Santa Fe Regional Training Institute.

Sgt. Darrell Grayson is looking forward to the mission. “We have just been combined with the tankers and this mission will help us come together. We want to get out there, use the Avenger FLIR and learn what we can to apply to our MOS.”

Simultaneously, elements of the 3rd Battalion, 112th Field Artillery along with G Company, 250th Brigade Support Battalion arrived in Deming and began their rotations to the border alongside the Georgia Army Guard, the current durational force there. The volunteers from the 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry would replace the artillery in Deming after the artillery had spent their two weeks on ground.
The power of Volunteers.

Table of Contents

Volume 32 Number 5
Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs