Buckeyes training Buckeyes: Ohio National Guard trains its own for worldwide deployments
Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Carden, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (03/03/19)
With Soldiers deployed around the world, assisting in missions ranging from peacekeeping operations to humanitarian aid and homeland defense, the Ohio Army National Guard requires its members to be ready when called. With the nation relying on the ONG, the Ohio relies on the Pre-Mobilization Training Assistance Element (PTAE) to ensure that Soldiers and units are trained for what faces them.
“There are basic tasks that every unit has to accomplish,” said Maj. Michael Barnauskas, the Ohio Army National Guard mobilization officer. “No matter where you are going to, you have to do those. In addition, there are theater-specific classes based on where a unit is deploying to. The PTAE is here to assist them with that training.”
When a unit is scheduled to deploy, Soldiers have a long list of tasks and skills that they have to demonstrate proficiency on before they get to their mobilization station. Soldiers go through medical lanes training, react to ambushes and indirect fire, train on hand-to-hand combat skills and identify and respond to improvised explosives devices.
“Historically, units really enjoy training with the PTAE,” Barnauskas said. “Many of these are skills that Soldiers haven’t done much of since basic training. We take it seriously, but we try to make it fun. We use a lot of real=life simulations and opposing forces, to make it as exciting as we can.”
The most important role of the PTAE is to ensure Soldiers are ready for the rigors of combat, a task that they keep in mind with every unit.
“We are sending Soldiers into harm’s way. We take it very seriously.” Barnauskas stressed. “Our main goal is to supply the nation with trained, manned and equipped units. That’s the only reason we’re here.”
To ensure units are getting up-to-date training, instructors share their experience from recent deployments.
“You never know what to expect,” said Sgt. Mark Parsons, an instructor on the improvised explosive device (IED) who recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. “Having people who have done these missions before, sharing their experiences, really helps the outcome of the training.”
While the training can be long and preparing the courses can be draining, instructors said they are proud of their role in getting units ready for deployment.
“This training is important,” Parsons reflected. “We get to use our talent and experience to help make sure everyone is prepared and ready.”
Since 2007, the PTAE has prepared Ohio units to answer the nation’s call and every time, they have done so with distinction and honor.
“We are really good here in the state of Ohio,” Barnauskas added. “The reputation of the Ohio National Guard is second to none.”