Members of the Illinois National Guard are returning home better prepared to serve thanks to a unique training opportunity at Ft. McCoy in western Wisconsin.
Thousands of Illinois service members took part in the Exportable Combat Training Capability exercise, which is designed to simulate real combat situations. Soldiers are stationed in the woods for a three week period, where they are able to hone a variety of skills.
For soldiers like National Guard sniper Alex Aitken, it provides an opportunity to get practice in a realistic setting. The rigors of training that guard members go through is something he hopes is not lost on the public.
“It’s not active duty military so they don’t realize that the things we do are if not the same, are very similar to what they do.” says Aitken.
More than 5,500 service members took part in this year’s Exportable Combat Training.