The Maine Army National Guard is an organization of dedicated citizen Soldiers with a long and proud heritage of service to the State and Nation. We remain ready and relevant to meet our obligations by maintaining high standards of discipline and fitness and living the Army Values. Bayonets Forward!
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"During a prolonged time of war, our Army professionals—our men and women in uniform and their civilian counterparts—performed magnificently well. In the face of continuous deployment to two distant wars, they achieved unprecedented success. When conducting homeland defense and disaster response, our Army professionals overcame every challenge with courage, ingenuity, and steadfast determination. That is why I am exceptionally proud of them and their Families."
—General Robert W. Cone
Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
"...I want to
thank all of you for your sacrifice, discipline, and dedication to the
security of our nation. Because of you, all Americans and many others
around the world will be able to peacefully enjoy this wonderful time of
To those who will not be able to spend the holidays with their families, our
thoughts and prayers will be with you. I am truly humbled and honored to
serve in your ranks - we are indebted to you for your service and sacrifice."
General Raymond T. Odierno
38th Chief of Staff, United States Army
News & Headlines
Army National Guard Soldier and Non-commissioned officer of the Year Competition
May 10, 2013
Maine Army National Guard Soldier of the Year winner, Spc. Lisa M. Bryant, 133rd Engineer Battalion Headquarters, Headquarters Company in Gardiner. (U.S. Army photo by Jessica J. Yanez, 121st Public Affairs Detachment, MEARNG)
Maine Army National Guard Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year winner, Sgt. Anthony R. Sturgis, 11th Civil Support Team in Waterville. (U.S. Army photo by Jessica J. Yanez, 121st Public Affairs Detachment, MEARNG)
The Maine Army National Guard Soldier and Non-commissioned officer of the Year Competition, held in March at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA, was a step in the right direction for winners Spc. Lisa M. Bryant, 133rd Engineer Battalion Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Gardiner, and Sgt. Anthony R. Sturgis, 11th Civil Support Team, Waterville.
After their success at the state level, the winners are now training for the next round of competition with mentor Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Way, 11th Civil Support Team, Waterville, who was the MEARNG NCO of the Year and a runner-up in the regional competition three years ago.
“I am happier for these Soldiers than I was for myself when I won a few years back,” said Way. “It makes me proud as a leader to teach them what I have learned and know that they are squared away for the next round.”
The training that Way has planned for Bryant and Sturgis mirrors challenges they will face in the upcoming region one Best Warrior Competition, May 14-16, at Camp Smith in Latham, NY.
In preparation for the competition, we are conducting as much training as possible to include everything from land navigation and physical fitness training to Army Warrior Tasks and written tests, Way said.
The three-day competition is designed to test physical endurance and mental agility through events like an Army Physical Fitness Test, a ten kilometer, 35-pound rucksack march and a live stress shoot scenario.
”When Soldiers start this competition they are running on pure adrenaline, but by the last day it is more a measure of their physical ability and heart,” said State Command Sgt. Major Terrence Harris, NCO in charge of the Maine Soldier and NCO of the Year competition.
The competition also incorporates events to test a competitor’s overall military knowledge through a formal board appearance where they will be asked questions on a variety of topics such as, military leadership, justice and history, field sanitation and survival techniques. Army values are also factored in by requiring a written test and recital of the Soldier and NCO creeds.
“This has been an amazing opportunity as a new Soldier, said Bryant. “Step by step I have been able to focus on and learn about areas of the military that I may never have experienced outside of this competition.”
At Camp Smith, the MEARNG competitors will go up against the Soldier and NCO of the Year winners from all other New England states. Winners of the region one competition will go on to compete in the national competition, later this year.
“This competition is a reflection of all the hard work it takes to be a Soldier and is an opportunity for me to set myself apart from the rest of the competitors,” said Sturgis. “It is such an overarching competition that incorporates every bit of a Soldier and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Maine National Guard announces deployment cancellation for 251st Engineer Company
May 3, 2013
Capt. Shanon Cotta, Commander of the 251st Engineer Company (Sapper), is interviewed by reporters following a press conference where it was announced that the units mobilization to Afghanistan is canceled. The unit mobilization was cancelled by the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) as a result of the President’s order to reduce US military forces in Afghanistan to thirty thousand personnel by 1 October 2013.
Augusta, Maine – In a press conference in Augusta today, Brigadier General James D. Campbell, The Adjutant General of Maine, announced that he was notified by the National Guard Bureau that the planned deployment to Afghanistan of the 251st Engineer Company has been cancelled. The unit mobilization was cancelled by the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) as a result of the President’s order to reduce US military forces in Afghanistan to thirty thousand personnel by 1 October 2013.
The 251st Engineer Company from Norway, Maine has 95 members and was scheduled to deploy in September, 2013 to conduct a route clearance mission. Combat Engineer units performing route clearance missions use specialized equipment to clear road side bombs and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along commonly used routes.
Campbell said that “I am proud of these soldiers and all the members of the Maine National Guard for preparing for these important and very dangerous missions and answering the call to service. The readiness level of the 251st Engineer Company has never been higher – it is and remains one of the premier units in the National Guard. This mission change is a result of the CENTCOM Commander canceling his request for forces to perform this mission based on the force reduction in Afghanistan directed by the President.”
General Campbell said, “I have directed my staff to quickly evaluate the impact of the timing of this announcement and ensure that we support our Soldiers and their families as they transition back to a more regular training cycle and adjust to the cancellation of their combat deployment. The high state of professionalism, morale and readiness in this unit should not change, and only increases the Maine National Guard’s ability to support potential missions here at home.”
The Maine National Guard senior leadership and staff remain committed to working with the unit’s Soldiers and families as they continue to train and be prepared to answer the call of our state and nation at any time.
For further information please contact the Maine National Guard Public Affairs Office, MAJ Michael Steinbuchel, (207) 430-5759.
251st Engineer Company Conduct Validation                           Training at Camp Ethan Allen
The soldiers of the 251st Engineer Company (Sapper) conduct long range rifle marksmanship at Fort Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. The M-4 Carbine Rifle is the standard issue weapon of the U.S. Army for all soldiers in theater. Soldiers must hit targets ranging from 400 to 1000 meters.
A soldier of the 251st Engineer Company (Sapper) fires training rounds out of the M203 grenade launcher during Validation Training at Fort Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. The M203 is an attachment for the M-4 Carbine Rifle, and is used regularly in theater. The M203 is capable of firing several types of rounds including High Explosive and smoke.
On April 19th-27th the 251st Engineer Company (Sapper)& located in Norway, Maine began validation training on Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, Vermont. Validations consist of basic Army Warrior tasks and drills that all U.S. Army Soldiers must be trained and proficient in prior to mobilization. The Sappers of the 251st trained and validated on Land Navigation, patrolling, and rifle marksmanship.
Land Navigation is an important skill for Soldiers to possess. The Soldiers were given a compass and map and had to find points scattered throughout the thick, hilly woods of Vermont. The Sappers had to conduct these skills for both day and night Land Navigation. Modern conveniences likes GPS systems have robbed most of these skills, but Soldiers must always be prepared in case of technological failures.
Patrolling is one of the most important skills for the modern solider. In theater Soldiers must patrol through the mountains and villages of Afghanistan to search for Improvised Explosive Devices. This can be done in vehicles or dismounted. The Soldiers of the 251st were trained to react to ambushes and indirect mortar fire, and had to patrol through and clear a village. Becoming efficient in these skills ensures a successful mission, which keeps our Soldiers safe.
The Sappers trained and qualified on the M-4 Carbine Rifle during validations as well. To qualify, Soldiers must shoot and hit pop up targets ranging from 50 to 300 meters. Rifle marksmanship is a long time tradition of the Army. The enemy can be engaged at long distances, sometimes farther than 1000 meters, or short distances, such as inside a small room. By qualifying with the M-4 Rifle, our Soldiers gain confidence in their weapons to fight and defeat the enemy at any distance.
Prior to deployment, all Soldiers must become validated in several warrior tasks like patrolling, rifle marksmanship, and land navigation. Through this training, the Sappers of the 251st have become one step closer to mobilization to the theater of Afghanistan and a successful mission.
Maine Army National Guard 251st Sappers                        Prepare for Fall Deployment
Private Nicholas Kauffman of Bridgton, member of the 251st Engineering Company (SAPPER), fires the M2 Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun during Validation Training at Fort Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. The M2 has been in service since 1918 and continues to be a staple in the arsenal of the United States military. "
Members of the 251st Engineering Company (SAPPER), located in Norway, Maine attend the Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicle (MRAP) Egress Trainer during Validation Training at Fort Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont. The MRAP Egress Trainer simulates a vehicle rollover and allows to soldiers to gain confidence in the safety of their vehicles. It is also designed to teach soldiers safety procedures and security protocols if faced with such a rollover while in theater.
The Soldiers of the 251st Engineering Company (SAPPER) & located in Norway, Maine attended Validation Training at Fort Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont in preparation for a fall deployment. Validation Training is meant to refresh and restore the Soldiers warrior tasks and drills to ensure a safe operating overseas and to complete the knowledge and skills required to succeed in their assigned mission. During Validation Soldiers receive training including patrolling techniques, heavy weapons, and the Mine Resistant Armor Protective Vehicle (MRAP) egress trainer.
Patrolling is a fundamental skill that the Soldier has to maintain. Patrols, whether mounted or on foot, are the primary means of maintaining security in the U.S. area of operations (AO). As a patrol makes its way through an AO, it is imperative that the Soldier maintain awareness of his surroundings and stay vigilant in case of possible threats. Practicing and maintaining patrol formations and signals is critical to the success of the mission and the safety of all Soldiers. Also, a patrol is the primary means of communication and interaction with the locals in any given AO.
The Heavy Weapons employed by today’s military are continuously evolving, but currently there is one machine gun that has stood the test of time; the M2 Browning .50 caliber machine gun. Designed in 1918, the M2 has continued to be the go-to machine gun in the U.S. military. During Validation, the Soldiers from the 251st received training on the weapon system and were able to engage training targets at distances up to 1000 meters. The training is designed to allow the Soldiers to become comfortable and proficient on what has become the work horse of the heavy weapons realm.
One of the increasingly more important parts of training conducted by the 251st was the MRAP Egress Trainer (MET). The MRAP is the primary vehicle used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and is vital for the protection of Soldiers from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Due to the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan and the prevalence of IEDs the Egress trainer has become ever more important. The training involves a working body of an MRAP and requires Soldiers to be exposed to a vehicle rollover in a controlled environment. During the training the Soldiers will be rolled over and required to egress while maintaining security and accountability of the other Soldiers within the vehicle.
Prior to being deployed is vital for all Soldiers to be ready for situations that may arise while overseas. Through Validation the Soldiers of the 251st Engineering Company (SAPPER) have been exposed to a variety of situations and training that is designed to give them the skills necessary to succeed on today’s battlefield. Through instruction and practice the Soldiers become more proficient and capable in preparation for operations around the world.
Maine Army National Guard Soldiers Prepare for a Deployment
10 April 2013 » By Lt. Jonathan Bratten
CPT Snow, SPC Turgeon , CPT Phillips (HHC 133 EN BN, MEARNG) rehearse room clearing techniques during Leader's Validation Training at the Gardiner Training Area on April 2, 2013. The Soldiers are preparing for Annual Training in May at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site. (Photo by Lt. Jonathan Bratten, HHC, 133rd Engineer Battalion)
Soldiers from HHC and FSC 133 EN BN, MEARNG are trained on the use of vehicle recovery with a tow bar at their Leader's Validation Training at the Gardiner Training Site on April 1, 2013. The Soldiers are preparing for a possible deployment to Afghanistan later this year. (Photo by Lt. Jonathan Bratten, HHC, 133rd Engineer Battalion)
Key Leaders from the 133rd Engineer Battalion's Headquarters & Headquarters Company and Forward Support Company, along with the 1035th Survey and Design Team, traveled to the Maine Army National Guard's Gardiner Training Area to demonstrate their proficiency on Army Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills in preparation for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
Trainers from the State Headquarters validated the leaders on specific tasks so they could return to their units and validate their own Soldiers proficiencies on the same tasks.
The intense training was designed to replicate the rigors and confusion of combat. Soldiers trained for convoys by using up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) with M2 .50 caliber machine guns mounted in the turrets. As the Soldiers maneuvered along convoy routes they encountered a variety of situations, such as small arms fire from a simulator with blanks, simulated IEDs, and interactions with civilians.
Explosions, the thumping of gunfire, the crackle of radio traffic, and the roar of engines filled the air. The Engineers also trained on vehicle recovery techniques in the case of a vehicle becoming immobilized. Dummy rounds for their individual weapons added a level of realism as Soldiers trained on reacting to ambushes and moving in urban terrain. The Engineers made use of the mock village at the training area to hone their skills in Military Operations in Urban Terrain, or MOUT as it is often called.
For the MOUT training, leaders and key personnel were integrated into three squads, which were cycled through the different training stations. Sergeants and specialists worked alongside captains and majors to accomplish the different tasks, building team cohesion that is necessary to sustain units in a combat environment.
The Soldiers will be able to take the lessons they have learned from this training and apply them to the training of their own sections. The units will attend Annual Training at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Vermont next month.
Story submitted by Lt. Jonanthan Bratten, HHC, 133rd Engineer Battalion
Sappers Attend Route Reconnaissance Clearance Course for Upcoming Deployment
25 March 2013 » By SPC Adam Simmler
Sgt. Eric Christie from Richmond, Maine and Spc. Tokunbo Amosun Jr. from Gardiner, Maine, both members of the 251st Engineer Company, Maine Army National Guard in Norway, Maine, set up a control station for the Puma unmanned aerial vehicle on March 19 during training at the Counter Explosive Hazards Center, Fort Leonard Wood, MO. The UAV is used to assist soldiers find and identify explosive threats. Attending the Route Reconnaissance Clearance Course offered through the CEHC, 67 Maine Soldiers are training in preparation for a deployment to Afghanistan in the fall. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Adam J. Simmler, 121st Public Affairs Detachment, MEARNG)
Soldiers from the 251st Engineer Company, Maine Army National Guard in Norway, use a simulator to practice techniques used to find and disarm improvised explosive devices during training at the Counter Explosive Hazards Center, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. March 21. Attending the Route Reconnaissance Clearance Course, 67 Maine Soldiers have been learning how to operate all the vehicles used to scan for IEDs, and how to neutralize them. The 251st is training in preparation for a deployment to Afghanistan in the fall. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Adam J. Simmler, 121st Public Affairs Detachment, MEARNG)
Spc. Tokunbo Amosun Jr. from Gardiner, Maine with the 251st Engineer Company, Maine Army National Guard in Norway, Maine, launches a Puma unmanned aerial vehicle on March 19 during training at the Counter Explosive Hazards Center, Fort Leonard Wood, MO. The UAV is used to assist soldiers find and identify explosive threats. Attending the Route Reconnaissance Clearance Course offered through the CEHC, 67 Maine Soldiers are training in preparation for a deployment to Afghanistan in the fall. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Adam J. Simmler, 121st Public Affairs Detachment, MEARNG)
FORT LEONARD WOOD, MO - Members of the Maine Army National Guard’s 251st Engineer Company, from Norway, Maine, are no strangers to explosive situations. As combat engineers, also known as sappers, Soldiers of the unit specialize in working under fire and in dangerous areas.
In preparation for a fall deployment to Afghanistan, the sappers are training to be even more effective in a hostile environment through the Route Reconnaissance Clearance Course, or R2C2, offered by the Counter Explosive Hazard Center at Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
While in R2C2, the sappers are taught the many critical tasks involved in ensuring that roads traveled everyday are safe for conveys carrying much-needed supplies and personnel, as well as civilian vehicles.
“It's very intense from a training perspective”, said Mark Miner, the training supervisor and R2C2 course manager. “We conduct operators training where they're getting into a vehicle and operating it by themselves; we have no brake on our side to stop them if they have an accident, so there's always a chance of something happening.”
During R2C2, students train on the top hand-held mine detection platforms in order learn the most effective techniques to search for explosives. They are instructed on a number of robotics platforms, from hand-launched drones for reconnaissance to remote controlled mine-clearing robots, such as the TALON bomb disposal unit. Some Soldiers also train to operate the vehicles used in a route clearance package, the RG-31, Husky, and the Buffalo, dubbed by many troops as the “Cadillac” of the three trucks.
“Its excellent training, the equipment we've had to use has been top notch, and the scenarios have been very realistic”, said Staff Sgt. Dennis Troxell, a squad leader from Waterville, Maine. “We're picking up more information, utilizing it and applying it.”
Miner, who has managed the course since its beginning in 2005, said that roughly 39,000 students from all branches of United States military have studied at the CEHC, with approximately 60 percent taking R2C2 over the last eight years.
“They've actually been one of the best courses that I've had while I've been here,” said Miner. “They are very attentive, very disciplined and really care about what they're doing, paying attention to what they need to do to survive in a combat situation while doing route clearance.”
“The instructors have been great,” commented Pfc. Calahan McCue from Denmark, Maine. “They're really willing to teach and help us, and stay late if we need more time to understand the material”.
The help offered by the instructors, and the motivation of the soldiers to learn was demonstrated at the end of the first week; every one of the 67 Maine sappers received a passing grade on their written test.
[Read the rest of the story here . . .]