NEWS | May 28, 2020

297TH Regional Support Group prepares to be the first National Guard unit to take over base operations in Poland

By Sgt. Heidi Kroll 297th Regional Support Group

Alaska Army National Guard 297th Regional Support Group (RSG) completed pre-mobilization training to be the first National Guard unit to take on the mission of base support operations in Poland at Fort Hood, Texas, May 27, 2020. The 120th Infantry Brigade from Fort Hood, Texas, put the Alaskans to the test, seeing how they would react to different situations that may occur in Poland.

The invaluable training that the 120th provided the RSG Soldiers will ensure the Soldiers have the skill set to complete this intricate mission they are undertaking. They created several scenarios that were likely to happen during the deployment such as the network operations going down, a fuel spill, enraged civilian business owners, and sudden influx of unexpected Soldiers.

“Injects allowed us to review our established policies and determine if they worked and to ensure we were ready to deal with the local population and continue to grow relationships,” said 1st Lieutenant Ivan Cuevas, 297th Regional Support Group.

Several Soldiers took on the roles of being Mayors at one of the 11 Forward Operating site locations of Poland. One of the scenarios the Mayor had to react to was an unhappy business owner that alleged that a Soldier stationed on the site had misbehaved at their place of business.

“In all my years in the Army, this training was unprecedented, I have never done anything like this. It gave my Soldiers a broad understanding of what the mission was and what our duties and responsibilities as a Forward Operating Site (FOS) Mayor would be,” said Cuevas.

Many of the Soldiers going on this mission are stepping out of their normal job descriptions to complete this mission. Several Soldiers will be working as Contract specialists, working with the NATO Allies, International partners, and local businesses to complete infrastructure improvements at their Forward Operating Sites (FOS). Individuals will ensure that contracts are completed on time and to the letter of the contract.

“Other exercises focus on engaging the enemy, this one focused on engaging with our rotational forces so that they could focus on their training. This exercise needed the most tact and customer service skills,” said Major Scott Munson, 297th Regional Support Group.

Communication is key on a mobilization with this many locations. The information technology Soldiers worked hard to come up with solutions to keep information flowing through the training site.

“In 14 to 16 hours we had 4 personnel running ethernet cable for 80 computer systems, 34 phones, and 3 printers through three buildings with help of the 120th prepping the cable we were able to complete this task” said Sergeant Jacob Lunsford, 297th Regional Support Group .

Soldiers from some of the remote Alaskan armories spent one day at the range qualifying on their M4 weapons. Alaska has several remote Armories that make getting together at one location unfeasible. The 120th rose to the occasion to meet the additional training mobilization requirements that Alaska required.

“The range non-Commissioned officer in charge that ran the range from 120th provided us with primary marksmanship instruction that ensured that all that were present were successful,” said Specialist Delaney Pletsch, 297th Regional Support Group.

The 120th challenged the Alaska Soldiers with many scenarios, in each situation the Alaskans rose to the occasion exceeding the trainers expectations on reaction time. Alaska is prepared to hit the ground running in Poland bringing the “North to Future” the state motto and attitude to bear to complete the mission.