Guam – The largest air movement of Guam Army National Guard (GUARNG) Soldiers on annual training status was completed Wednesday with the departure of the last group of over 45 Soldiers on a KC135 Stratotanker from the Alaska Air National Guard 168th Air Refueling Wing.
Over 600 Soldiers from the GUARNG’s 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, and its affiliated Forward Support Company, F Company, 29th Brigade Support Battalion, left island over the last couple of days for their training site over 8,000 miles away in California.
This is possibly the largest ever air movement operation of Army Guard members for annual training by Air National Guard assets under a single operation, according to LTC Michael Tougher, Battalion Commander of the 1-294th IN.
“The fact that the National Guard is moving more than 600 Soldiers and 21 pallets of equipment on nine military and three commercial air transports, is an impressive logistical accomplishment,” Tougher said.
Several states with Air National Guard assets supported the operation, according to LTC George Charfauros, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans. These states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Maine Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Types of aircraft used included the KC135 and the C-17.
“This air movement took a tremendous amount of joint planning and coordination,” said Maj Gen Benny M. Paulino, The Adjutant General for GUNG. “I want to thank all the states who supported us in this air operation.”
[Members of the 1-294th IN board a KC135 Stratotanker from the Alaska Air National Guard 168th ARW, which will transport them to their annual training site in California. (GUNG Photo by SPC Jess Toves)]
The 1-294th IN will spend three weeks at Maneuver Training Center (MTC) Camp Roberts to perform their annual training. The 42,361-acre base, operated by the California National Guard used by Army National Guard and Army Reserve units for training on light and heavy maneuver (mounted and dismounted) operations, live-fire ranges from small arms to crew serve weapons, aerial gunnery, drop zones, and limited airfield needs on two airfields.
The Guam Army National Guard (GUARNG) received the alert order for its 1-294th IN and F Company, 29th BSB for deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom late last year.
The alert order is a step in the process leading to mobilization. It also gives the GUARNG and the 1-294th IN command the time and resources it needs to meet the training and validation requirements before the unit reports to its mobilization station, and complete training before deploying into their area of operations.
The 1-294th IN is composed of Soldiers from Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The anticipated activation of the 1-294th IN RGT may also be considered as the largest group of reserve component troops to be mobilized and deployed from Guam.