56th Brigade getting some Lessons Learned

Guard soldiers pass on lessons learned in Iraq

The Pennsylvania National Guard’s 56th Brigade has been alerted that it could be deployed to Iraq in early 2009. The brigade, the only one in the National Guard with Strykers, is still transitioning.

The troops have been training on Strykers for two years, and now it’s time for them to learn what experienced troops in the field have learned.

“We’ll be learning tactics relevant to that environment,” said Lt. Bryan Hanisko, a National Guardsman from Halifax. “This is not a European-type battle.”

And Shylock in Amishland, a member of the brigade comments:

All of us, the entire unit, are taking the training very seriously. Pre-deployment notwithstanding, I don’t fear what will happen in theater with our regular supporting cast. My anxiety stems from the branches we’ll invariably graft in for full-spectrum combat operations.

One bit in the Penn Live article that I didn’t get was this improvisation:

[Lt. Col. Pat] Mangin said the Strykers are so well camouflaged that cars would sometimes come up to them quickly, making it more likely for a soldier to fire in fear of a suicide bomber. So the soldiers obtained hockey pucks equipped with lights that they could throw out in warning.

Has anyone heard of this before?

Meanwhile: Twin sisters take the wheel


  1. Not to be a wiseass or anything, but I’m really trying to figure out which part of an SBCT those two females are assigned to. The only sub-unit in an SBCT that is authorized Stryker vehicles and allowed to have females assigned is the Brigade HHC. Bde HHC has 3 Strykers-command variants belonging to the Commander, the S3, and the USAF FAC team. And the TOE slots for the drivers and commanders of those vehicles are for 11B10 (Infantry, PVT-SPC) and 11B30 (Inf, SSG) respectively. There are no females, supposedly, in the Infantry battalions, AT company, Cav squadron, or Engineer company. Also, it says that one their last deployment, they ran a network help desk. Which means they’re commo/Signal Corps types. And thus would be assigned to either the Signal Company, which has no Strykers, or the Bde S6 shop, which also doesn’t have any Strykers. So 56th Bde is doing something odd.