National Guard Bureau holds planning conference at 911th AW

  • Published
  • By Joshua J. Seybert
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In the military, planning is essential for any mission, whether in real life or for an exercise. The National Guard Bureau’s Northern Strike Middle Planning Conference is held for exactly that purpose by bringing together participants of the upcoming exercise and coordinating all of logistical details that the exercise entails.

One may think, how does a National Guard Bureau conference have anything to do with the 911th Airlift Wing and the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station?

The Northern Strike Operations Group chose Pittsburgh as its location for the conference to maximize the ability to include the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat team, 28th Infantry Division, a unit of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. The 2/28 IBCT is one of the major rotation units in the exercise this year.

“Our folks were heavily involved in a variety of the planning efforts for the exercise,” said Lt. Col. Gary Zembower, 2/28 IBCT executive officer. “The conference is good because it allows us to coordinate with all of the other units so we can synchronize all of the training, logistics and resources.”

The conference was designed to plan an exercise that, while sponsored by the National Guard Bureau, extends out to more than just members of the National Guard.

According to Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Palmatier, Northern Strike Operations Group, “It is truly a joint accredited exercise providing readiness building opportunities for units from multiple branches of the U.S. military and some from foreign militaries to include Canada, Latvia and Lithuania.”

The exercise consists of multiple scenarios, from convoy and engagement situations to calling in for air support to live-fire training simulations. These events will be conducted by multiple units from all over the world who don’t get to work together on a day-to-day basis other than during these types of exercises or during real-world missions.

With an exercise of this magnitude, planning and coordination between the multiple units becomes even more vital as they have to account for transportation, housing and feeding of the more than 1,000 military personnel who attend the exercise.

“Everything from how the troops are getting their lunch and getting bullets on the ground to helicopters in the sky and fueling all the vehicles; it is all getting planned out here,” said Palmatier. “It has been a great event for us here in Pittsburgh, to get everyone in one spot and get everything planned out.”