Soldiers of the 116th Brigade Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Twin Falls, returned home today after spending the past three weeks at Fort Hood, Texas, conducting annual training. The training involved more than 80 Soldiers from the Magic Valley.

The battalion provided command and control to Task Force Dagger during the 278th Armored Brigade Combat Team’s eXportable Combat Training Capability rotation. The task force provided Opposing Forces that allowed the Tennessee Army National Guard unit to train against a capable near-peer force.

“We played the game as much as possible to get our new guys experience and to give the 278th ABCT experience so they know what to expect if they get deployed,” said Cpl. Rene Alarcon, a Twin Falls resident assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 116th Brigade Engineer Battalion. “You have to have a different perspective to play OPFOR,” Alacron said. “You have to see the battle from the enemy’s perspective.”

Task Force Dagger was made up of more than 500 Soldiers, including approximately 350 from the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team.

“This was an unprecedented opportunity for the 116th Brigade Engineer Battalion to exercise command and control over an armored task force,” said Lt. Col. Dennis Stitt, 116th Brigade Engineer Battalion commander.

XCTC is a field training exercise designed to certify platoon proficiency for National Guard units. The task force conducted approximately 180 training and mass casualty lanes in support of the exercise, which involved more than 4,100 Soldiers.

Task Force Dagger was comprised of units from six states representing four of the five Army National Guard armored brigade combat teams. In addition to the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team’s Oregon-based 3-116th and Montana’s 1-163rd Combined Arms Battalions, elements from Minnesota’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team; North Carolina’s 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team; and Tennessee’s 251st Military Police Company all participated.

“In order for today’s five Army National Guard armored brigade combat teams to meet our nation’s training and readiness expectations, it requires our cooperation and support of each other,” Stitt said.

Alpha Company, based in Mountain Home and Gooding, along with Bravo Company, based in Moscow, Grangeville, and Orofino, provided the bulk of the battalion’s engineer assets while Charlie and Delta Companies, both based in Boise, provided signal and military intelligence support, respectively. Echo Company of the 145th Brigade Support Battalion, headquartered in Jerome, provided logistical support to the task force.

The 116th Brigade Engineer Battalion moved 200 pieces of equipment by train from Boise to Texas to support the exercise.

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