The Soldiers of 2-135 Infantry are taking part in annual training in preparation for the battalion’s upcoming deployment.
“Our Soldiers are well-trained, experienced and ready when called upon,” said Lt. Col. Jon Ostercamp, the battalion commander, during an interview earlier this spring.
Since receiving the deployment order the officers and staff of 2-135 Infantry have been busy building plans for training, ensuring proper qualifications are met and preparing their families for the separation.
While at Camp Ripley, Soldiers of the battalion conducted day and night live fire exercises with individual and crew-served weapons. The battalion fired several qualification tables and conducted familiarization exercises increasing their awareness of tactical situations in addition to the support requirements for the forward units.
“We need to be a fully-functional and, if necessary, a self-supporting unit,” said 1st Lt. Nick Cappola, battalion public affairs officer.
The battalion mortar platoon fired its 120-mm mortars in support of their units calling coordinated illumination missions. At night, illumination rounds are fired to light up the battlefield, allowing forward units the availability of easier field of view.
Forward observers use the illumination to identify targets and call for high explosive mortar rounds or heavier field artillery to engage those targets with indirect fire. The mortar platoon coordinates these fires so that hostile targets are engaged effectively with limited exposure to friendly units.
During their annual training period 2-135 Infantry also conducted Sling-loading with Army helicopters, riot control and force protection as well as warrior tasks training on Camp Ripley.
Nearly 400 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard’s Mankato-based 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment will deploy for a nine-month peacekeeping mission to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt in support of the Multi-National Force and Observers later this summer.
The mission of the nearly 2,000-strong Multi-National Force and Observers is to enforce the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Divided into four zones, the Sinai Peninsula is host to 12 nations in support of the MFO.
The southern Minnesota units will mobilize in July and depart for pre-deployment training at Fort Bliss, Texas. They will begin their mission in Egypt by the end of the summer.
by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs