<p>

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The
Illinois Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry, completed
advanced Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) live-fire gunner
training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Sept. 17-18. 


</p><p>Gunners
from Company D, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry based in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, made
up only a handful of Army and Marine Infantry units resourced to conduct
training of this capacity.  Sixteen trained
gunners fired 60 TOW-2B antitank guided missiles at battle tanks with 98.3
percent accuracy hitting the target on the first attempt.
</p><p>
“This
is a once in a lifetime training event for many of these infantrymen,” said
Capt. Casey J. Kline of Marion, Illinois, Headquarters and Headquarters Company,
2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry operations officer.  “These troops and their chain of command
invested in a long train-up and coordination process to ensure training
objectives were met.”

</p><p>The
TOW-2B is a top-attack weapon, able to defeat armored vehicles.  The weapon is mounted on High Mobility
Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and
formerly helicopter gunships of the United States and allies around the
globe.  The 130th is one of the Army’s
oldest infantry regiments, tracing its heritage to at least half a century
prior to the American Revolution.  It has
units in Marion, West Frankfort, Mount Vernon, Effingham, and Litchfield, Illinois.

</p> Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers conduct live-fire training
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry, completed advanced Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) live-fire gunner training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Sept. 17-18.

 
<p>




Story by U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Twist,
Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

</p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill – For the past year, the Illinois Army
National Guard’s Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) worked vigorously to become
the number one ranked program in the nation for Soldiers who ship to basic
combat training (BCT) and advanced individual training (AIT).
</p><p>
The RSP was created in 2004 by National
Guard Bureau to ensure Soldiers receive the valuable training needed before
leaving for initial entry training.

</p><p>A year ago, the RSP was ranked 32 out of
54 states and territories, said Sgt. Maj. Allen Morrison, of
Rochester, Illinois, RSP noncommissioned officer in charge. He said the program had never been in
the number one position before.
</p><p>
“It was an honor for our battalion to
be ranked as the number one Recruit Sustainment Program,” said Morrison. 
“The Recruiting and Retention Battalion has a lot of great noncommissioned
officers (NCO), cadre and staff in the leadership roles.”
</p><p>
Morrison said in 2012 the RSPs training
pipeline success rate was at 79.6 percent, which was 42nd in the nation. He
said the training pipeline success covers a Soldier from their enlistment day
to the day they graduate AIT.

</p><p>Morrison said they tweaked the program a
year ago and watched as their success rate rose to 85 percent.

 </p><p>Sgt.
1st Class Joshua D. Lipa of Decatur, Illinois, Recruiting and Retention NCO in
charge of Company K, RSP in Springfield, Illinois, said the ranking system is
based on different metrics such as, the training success of the warriors and
the quality of their paperwork.

</p><p>Lipa said it is extremely hard to stay
at the top of the list when competing against all 53 states and territories.
</p><p>
“By no means are we complacent in
thinking that this is just the way it should be,” said Lipa. “We are continuing
to work hard and look for new ways to improve ourselves on a daily basis.”

</p><p>Lipa said the NCOs have seen what it
takes to be successful throughout their careers.
</p><p>
“I think the RSP became number one
because of the experience of the NCOs within the command,” said Lipa. “They
take great pride in their respective RSPs.”
</p><p>
Lipa said the significance of the
program’s success is great.
</p><p>
“We want all warriors to graduate as
Soldiers,” said Lipa. “When this program is succeeding, we have minimal
problems graduating all warriors we send to BCT.”

</p><p>Morrison, who has served with various
RSP companies since 2005, said the program is essential to all newly enlisted Soldiers.
</p><p>
“It is our job to make sure they are
administratively, physically and mentally prepared for the rigors of basic
training and advanced individual training,” said Morrison.

</p><p>Lipa said there are five phases for the
warriors during RSP. He said the first month of training is known as red phase where
recruits learn the basic customs and courtesies, the rank structure, general
orders, Army values and military time. He said each warrior is also issued uniforms.


</p><p>Lipa said white phase lasts from the
second drill until one month before they ship out to BCT. </p><p>

“All warriors are trained on tasks
required to complete BCT,” said Lipa.

</p><p>During RSP, the recruits train on numerous
military tasks including drill and ceremony, land navigation, unit movements
and physical training at each drill.
</p><p>
He said RSP gave him an upper hand when
he left for BCT. He said he felt he had to step up and help others on what he learned
in RSP.

</p><p>Lipa said the third phase is blue
phase, which takes place during the month prior to leaving for BCT. He said during
blue phase, they issue a packing list and thoroughly go over each warrior’s
paperwork before leaving. 

</p><p>The next phase is gold phase. Lipa said
in this phase, the Soldiers return home and are ready for their assigned unit.
</p><p>
Lipa said the green phase is the fifth
phase and this is only for the split option Soldiers who have returned from
BCT, but have not yet completed AIT. The Soldiers get refresher training and help
new warriors gain confidence before attending BCT.

</p><p>RSP gives Soldiers a first-hand look at
what they will be dealing with during BCT so recruits can maintain a positive
outlook while at training.
</p><p>
Lipa said RSP is designed to help
future Soldiers prepare for the rigors and stress of leaving. </p><p>

“This has been one of the best programs
the Army National Guard has developed to help new
warriors in gaining the confidence they need to complete basic training,” said
Lipa. “Definitely a program I wish I had before leaving for my basic training.”

</p> Illinois Recruit Sustainment Program, number one in nation
SPRINGFIELD, Ill – For the past year, the Illinois Army National Guard’s Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) worked vigorously to become the number one ranked program in the nation for Soldiers who ship to basic combat training (BCT) and advanced individual training (AIT).

 
<P>By Col. Joseph Schweickert, Army Chief of Staff </P>
<P>As you are all well aware, the Illinois Army National Guard has been dealing with major changes to our training this month due to financial challenges at National Guard Bureau. The good news is Congress has approved the reprogramming of funds, so we will still be able to conduct our IDT training Sept. 27-28. Indications are Congress will also approve a Continuing Resolution soon, so we will not experience a government shutdown Oct. 1, as we did last year. </P>
<P>I know we have already made major disruptions to your training schedules for this month and there will still be challenges with the adjusted drill dates for many of you. I appreciate everyone’s hard work adapting to these changes and for asking good questions to make sure we are not overlooking anything. We need to do a lot of coordination when we change even one unit’s drill dates. Changing all of them at once has been a major undertaking. We can only be successful with your continued support. </P>
<P>On the positive side, we are ending the training year with a lot to be proud about. We conducted great annual training events with units from every command and ended the summer with one of the best safety records we have had in recent years. We also conducted two homeland security exercises with our state partners, continuing to improve our readiness to respond in case of disaster. The support we provided to the NGAUS conference in Chicago earned praises from delegates from across the country on the professionalism and quality of our Soldiers and Airmen. These accomplishments are only possible because of your continued dedication and service. Thank you once again for serving and I look forward to accomplishing great things in Training Year 15! </P> Army Guard faces challenges,continues accomplishments
As you are all well aware, the Illinois Army National Guard has been dealing with major changes to our training this month due to financial challenges at National Guard Bureau. The good news is Congress has approved the reprogramming of funds, so we will still be able to conduct our IDT training Sept. 27-28. Indications are Congress will also approve a Continuing Resolution soon, so we will not experience a government shutdown Oct. 1, as we did last year.

 
<P>By Brig. Gen. Johnny Miller, Assistant Adjutant General-Army </P>
<P>Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Bowman, Illinois Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major; Col. Mark Jackson, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) Commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Beck , 33rd IBCT Command Sergeant Major and I attended the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division’s Total Force Partnering Conference at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, May 30 to June 1. The conference was held to build relationships between the 101st ABN (AA) brigades and the Army National Guard brigades partnered or aligned with the 101st. </P>
<P>For example, Illinois Army National Guard brigades are aligned as follows: 33rd IBCT with 2nd Brigade, 101st ABN (AA); 108th Sustainment Brigade with 101st Sustainment Brigade; and 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade with 101st ABN (AA) Division Headquarters. Illinois, along with Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio are partnered with the 101st ABN (AA) and were also at the conference. </P>
<P>Army Total Force Partnering is an initiative of the Chief of Staff of the Army and is emerging doctrine to address the needs of an evolving Army. Army Directive 2012-08 establishes a policy for the integration of the Army’s active component and reserve component as a “Total Force.” Department of Defense policies require the military departments to organize, man, train, and equip their active and reserve components as an integrated operational force to provide predictable, recurring and sustainable capabilities. </P>
<P>This is new, unchartered territory for the Illinois Army National Guard (ILARNG). We have been told this relationship will provide additional opportunities for Air Assault School slots, Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) rotations, and War Fighter Exercises. Likewise, we will offer partnering opportunities for 101st ABN (AA) Soldiers during our training activities. </P>
<P>I want to encourage all commands to develop this relationship and drive to make Illinois the best partner possible for the 101st ABN (AA). We have proven time and time again how effective we can be when deployed with our active duty counterparts. I see this as an opportunity to continue our outstanding performance in this changing environment. </P>
<P>Illinois Strong! </P> Illinois Guard engages Army Total Force Partnering

 
<P>In 2011 I attempted suicide as a member of the Illinois Army National Guard. Unfortunately, I was ridiculed and the subject of the unit rumor mill for my actions. I was told I only attempted to "get attention" by members of my unit. I contacted the Illinois Inspector General's (IG) Office and filed a complaint regarding my circumstances. Together with the Adjutant General and command staff they devised a plan to add ASIST (Army Suicide Intervention Skills Training) as a priority for yearly training guidance by 2014. </P>
<P>According to the chaplain corps, as of  July 21, 2014, 459 personnel have been trained. This includes suicide intervention officers who have been placed in most units throughout Illinois. As a fellow suicidal Soldier, I urge all my brothers and sisters in arms to take advantage of these resources. To those of you who have been given this training I ask you take your duty seriously and know you have the power to make a difference and save a fellow Soldier's life. To the IG office, the office of the Adjutant General and command staff, I say thank you  for providing your leaders with the tools to help your Soldiers in their darkest moments. Your actions reflect great credit upon yourselves, the Illinois Army National Guard and the United States Army. </P>
<P>Sincerely,</P>
<P>SGT Melissa Jones</P> A Soldier's personal thank you for the ASIST program

 
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