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30th HBCT Arrives at Camp Shelby

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North Carolina Army National Guard Soldiers stand in line during their Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) Issue process at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. During the RFI process, Soldiers receive military equipment such as boots, gloves, and sunglasses to improved helmets and protective gear. The Soldiers are assigned to the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, which are in mobilization training for an upcoming deployment to Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. Michael Williams, CSJFTC PA)

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- The North Carolina Army National Guard's 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) has started to arrive at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (CSJFTC).

The 30th HBCT, headquartered in Clinton, N.C., "is one of seven Army National Guard Fires Brigades that has been tapped for rotations in support of the Global War on Terrorism," stated a military news release.

The unit will make the ninth brigade size element to train at CSJFTC since it became a mobilization site in 2004.


Staff Sgt. Henry Rhodes, a resident of Sanford, N.C., tries on a helmet during the Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) Issue process. Rhodes is a North Carolina Army National Guard Soldier assigned to the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT), Delta Company 252 Combined Arms Battalion. The unit has just arrived at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center for three months of mobilization training before heading to Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. Michael Williams, CSJFTC PA)


North Carolina Army National Guard Soldier, 2Lt. Darius White, tries on protective gloves during the Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) Issue process at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. White, who resides in Fayetteville, N.C., is a member of the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) Echo Company 252 Combined Arms Battalion, which will be training for an upcoming deployment to Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. Michael Williams, CSJFTC PA)

Approximately 4,000 men and women of the North Carolina Army National Guard make up the brigade and are comprised of different units throughout the state of N.C. and W.Va.

The brigade, also known as "Old Hickory," is part of more than 20,000 Army National Guardsmen that are preparing for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009.

This is not the 30th HBCT's first deployment. The brigade returned from a year in Iraq in 2005.


Staff Sgt. Jason Wood, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Echo Company 252 Combined Arms Battalion, tries on a winter coat during the Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) Issue process at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. Wood, a resident of Pageland, S.C., and his unit is part of more than 20,000 Army National Guardsmen that has been called up for deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009. (Photo by Sgt. Michael Williams, CSJFTC PA)

During their last deployment, they trained Iraqi troops, conducted security missions, and even built several schools for local Iraqi communities.

Before they received word that they might be called up once more, the brigade made arrangements to conduct their Annual Training at CSJFTC in the summer of 2008, in order to conduct some of the pre-mobilization training that is required for a unit before mobilization.

Now that they are here, they must complete specialized mobilization training and be validated before the start of their "boots-on-ground" time in country.


North Carolina Army National Guard Soldiers stand in line during their Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) Issue process at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. During the RFI process, Soldiers receive military equipment such as boots, gloves, and sunglasses to improved helmets and protective gear. The Soldiers are assigned to the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, which are in mobilization training for an upcoming deployment to Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. Michael Williams, CSJFTC PA)

But before their training begins, they must complete a series of administrative steps known as Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP), which provides medical clearance for deployment, financial paperwork and legal counseling. Once that is complete, they must receive their Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) Issue which consists of everything from boots, gloves, and sunglasses to improved helmets and protective gear.

After receiving their RFI gear, then the brigade will head out to conduct lane exercises, counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) training, crew-served weapon familiarization and qualification, individual weapon qualification and language classes.


Soldiers of the North Carolina Army National Guard 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) try on their protective helmets for proper fit during their Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) process at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center. The brigade is in mobilization training for a deployment to Iraq. (Photo by Sgt. Michael Williams, CSJFTC PA)

During their mobilization training cycle, they will utilize the sprawling 360,000 acre training area for their mobilization training, along side many other units from around the country.

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