The 130 members of the Vermont National Guard called up earlier this month and another 400 headed out next month are training to be part of a relatively new military concept called ‘brigade combat’ teams.
The Vermonters from the 1st Battalion of the 172nd armor regiment, who normally train to fight in heavy M-1 main battle tanks, will become part of combat teams formed around National Guard units from Mississippi, Hawaii and Pennsylvania.
According to Vermont National Guard Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel Jon Farnham, the combat teams are designed to be lighter, more flexible and more specialized than traditional armored units.
The new units will be made up of infantry soldiers, mobile soldiers in armored Humvees and some tanks.
The training could mark the beginning of the transformation of the Vermont Army National Guard away from its traditional role operating heavy tanks.
Meanwhile, the 65 members of a Lyndonville-based company of the Vermont National Guard have learned they will not be sent to Iraq.
Vermont Guard spokeswoman Lieutenant Veronica Saffo says the soldiers, who are training in Texas, are being told they will be sent to Saudia Arabia to perform security duties. Saffo says the Vermont soldiers are undergoing the same training as others who are headed to Iraq.
The soldiers from the Lyndonville-based Delta Company of the first battalion of the 172nd armor regiment left Vermont on December second.
The other company that left Vermont on December 2nd, Bravo company out of Enosburg, will be deployed to Iraq. (AP)