Every summer, National Guard troops spend two weeks training at one of the Combat Training Centers (CTC). While training at a CTC is challenging, it prepares the National Guard for any situation. Today we will take a look at what it takes to make it through two weeks at one of the country’s premier training facilities, the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC).
FDR Fort Polk established in 1941. The United States used Fort Polk for basic training in WWII. However, it became a permanent infantry training center in 1962. Later, the military used Fort Polk to conduct Vietnam-orientated advanced training. Finally, on March 12, 1993, Fort Polk became home to the JRTC.
The JRTC, in Fort Polk, Louisiana, improves unit readiness with highly realistic training. According to the JRTC and Fort Polk website, JRTC provides the troops with “joint and combined arms training across the full spectrum of conflict (current and future)”. Additionally, “Training bases like the Joint Readiness Training Center here will be central to preparing America’s Army for future conflicts that could come up at a moment’s notice,” said Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal, in “JRTC rotation demonstrates the force of the future,” by C. Todd Lopez.
Throughout the two weeks that the troops train at the JRTC, they complete exercises that prepare them for the battlefield. According to “Illinois National Guard joins ‘the Club’ at JRTC,” Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen explains one exercise in The Illinois Soldiers are in a split role with acting as the national host nation security force role in Dara Lam with the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces and participating with a special forces team, also on the friendly element side in support of ‘Bastogne'”. This is only one example of the kinds of exercises that the troops will participate in during their stay.
Aside from the training and simulations, the JRTC’s location also hosts its fair share of obstacles for National Guardsmen.”Everything down there is either going to sting you, prick you or give you a rash,” said Ciampolillo, the 27th IBCT command sergeant major and resident of Glenville, N.Y. “It’s the deep south, it’s totally different” in the article, “NY Army National Guard Vets Say: Get Ready, Get Set for JRTC,” by Master Sgt. Raymond Drumsta of the New York National Guard. Moreover, Drumsta explains that these obstacles are all a part of the training. Additionally, Drumsta writes, “those challenges are all part of JRTC, which is designed to bend or break units and individual troops in order to reveal their weak points”.
All in all, training at the JRTC is incredibly difficult, but it prepares the National Guard for anything and everything. The two weeks that the each National Guardsmen spends at the JRTC, in the hot, humid, Louisiana weather, trains them for the toughest situations.