29th SG tackles exercise in Baumholder

Alex Harrington, Story and photos
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***Soldiers of the 29th Support Group recently endured more than a week of
rigorous training in cold temperatures and the muddy fields of the
Baumholder training area during Exercise Dragon Shield 05.

The training afforded senior leaders an opportunity to evaluate company
readiness and the Soldiers’ ability to perform in individual and
collective mission essential-tasks, such as urban warfare and tactical
convoy operations, respectively.

Dragon Shield 05 was a short, intense, scenario-driven,
mission-oriented tactical exercise that allowed 21st Theater Support
Command units to hone their strengths, as well as correct identified

“Each of the units conducted necessary team-level training to prepare
for convoy operations,” said 2nd Lt. Giancarlo Diangeli, platoon
leader, 1048th Truck Company. Throughout the training, leaders like
Diangeli reinforced the importance of mastering basic Soldier skills.

“We are teaching the Soldiers that they are Soldiers first and their
military occupation is secondary … when serving in today’s operational
environment in such places like Iraq and Afghanistan,” said the
25-year-old from Niantic, Conn.

Lieutenant Diangeli and other leaders have also exposed the Soldiers to
rigorous, stressful training comparable to the current operation
environments downrange.

“We are focusing on war-winning readiness when we train our Soldiers,”
Diangeli said. “The certainty confronting today’s Soldiers is overseas
deployment and probable combat. Some will enter combat within weeks or
months of their basic and advanced individual training. When thrusted
into a conflict in which adversaries far outnumber their comrades, our
Soldiers must believe and demonstrate that quality is more important
than quantity, and that people are more important than hardware.
“On the battlefields we face, there are no front lines and no rear
areas; there are no secure garrisons or convoys. Soldiers are warriors
first, specialists second,” he said.

***image2***In addition to the training, veterans like Master Sgt. Taylor Njagu,
operations sergeant major, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 29th
SG, are bringing their own combat experiences into simulated training
environments to ready and mentor young Soldiers who have yet to be
deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

“When I train with young Soldiers, I try to convey the seriousness of
the situation through words and leading by example,” said the
42-year-old from Zimbabwe, Africa. “I take it seriously and I want them
to take this training seriously.”

Sergeant Njagu added “Another point I emphasize to the Soldiers is that
we must work as a team – helping each other out and living by the Army
values and Warrior Ethos.”

When asked about how he likes the training, Sgt. Neil Hatch, a tracked
vehicle mechanic from the 191st Ordnance Battalion, said, “I enjoy the
training and think it’s important, but we need to bring more realism to
the simulated environment.”

While the Soldiers focused on convoy operations and individual battle
tactics, the training also included close combat support operations
from a deployed location, occupying and defending an assigned area,
conducting split-based operations and redeployment.