Soldiers of the 36th Infantry “Arrowhead” Division, Texas Army National Guard, came to Fort Hood in late July for their annual training — a two-week field exercise designed to bring the Texas soldiers back to the basics of training.

Over the course the exercise, as the heat jumped into the triple digits, these Texas Guardsmen and women conducted back-to-back missions to hone basic soldiering skills, from the firing of mortars to civil disturbance training.

“The men and women of this division have been doing an outstanding job getting mission-ready for whatever this great state or country might need us for,” said Maj. Gen. James K. “Red” Brown, division commander. “They have worked very hard and I have the utmost confidence in their ability to complete any mission when they are called upon to serve.”

The division, headquartered at Camp Mabry in downtown Austin, and its brigades conducted this training and mobilization readiness in order to provide a ready and responsive forces that can deploy to theaters of operations and offer a wide range of mission support for state and federal agencies.

“My intent is to train the division’s maneuver brigades in an operational environment, while enhancing unit readiness through individual and collective tactical task training,” Brown said.

For the first time, many of the leadership throughout the ranks of the division, used the Army’s 8 Point Training Model for completing the multitudes of task given to them. Army regulation states this training model is a simple, progressive checklist approach to plan, prepare, execute and assess training.

“Using the 8 Step Training Model and everything these soldiers have seen out here with the division, that training is what these two-weeks have been all about,” said 1st Lt. Amanda R. Windle, platoon leader for the military police platoon of Headquarters Support Company, 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “The after-action review (step 7) is a critical step in the training process, because it allows the trainers to sit with the soldiers, and we can talk, discuss and critique in an open format instead of sharpshooting one another.”

This training format allowed Arrowhead soldiers to work alongside their brothers and sisters-in-arms from every brigade in the division throughout the exercise, the last time this happened was almost 10 years ago.

“The (commanding general) pushed down that we were coming here to train using the 8 Step Training Model,” Windle said. “And I can say without a doubt that this (annual training) been a phenomenal experience for me and my soldiers.”

Having completed the 14-day event, soldiers convoyed home.

Many returned to the civilian workforce, a little tired from the experience, but with great training under their belt and stories to share with family and friends.

“Every year it seems we ask more and more from the family and employers of these great soldiers,” said the commander. “Standing here today, I can promise you that after these two-weeks, these soldiers will return to their family members and civilian jobs with more discipline and experience than ever before seen.”

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