National Guard conducts exercise at Sportsmen’s Park

By Thomas Nelson,

There’s nothing like a nice march through the snow for a soldier.

The Iowa National Guard Detachment out of Charles City went through a training exercise at Sportsmen’s Park this past weekend.

Members of Detachment 2 of headquarters, 1st Battalion 194th Field Artillery marched with 45-pound packs and gear for about two and a half miles from the National Guard Armory to VFW and Sportsmen’s Park.

“We did a little ruck march from the armory over by the high school, and come over here to the Sportmen’s Park behind the VFW,” said Sgt. 1st Class James Sherrill. “It’s a little physical fitness for the soldiers.”

The detachment is made up of soldiers from Charles City, Nashua, Waterloo and other surrounding areas.

The soldiers used communications equipment and battle tracking equipment that they are working on integrating into their formation.

“It’s more of a confidence thing,” Sherrill said, “getting the soldiers confident with the equipment, utilizing the equipment before we really need to use it.”

About 20 to 30 soldiers set up behind the VFW with two Humvees. They started their ruck marches at 8 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday. The soldiers went through on the snow-covered Charley Western Trail to their destination carring their radios and any of the equipment they might need.

The soldiers stayed outside until 10 a.m. Saturday when they returned the armory for more training.

Spc. Brandon Magritz and Floyd County Sheriff Deputy and National Guard Sgt. Chad Weber used the equipment to scout out positions during their time at Sportmen’s Park.

“It’s a great day out here in Charles City. We thought we’d come out and take a walk,” Sherrill said. “We’ve got this new equipment and we’ve got young soldiers that don’t really have a lot of experience with it.”

The training the Guard undertook will prepare them when they go off to larger training exercises around the world.

“It’s building confidence in the soldier and the equipment,” Sherrill said. “That’s the main goal for what we’re doing.”