Fort Irwin

Toptier Training at the NTC

  • Share

While in the barren Mojave Desert, AKA “Death Valley,” Fort Irwin is home to one of the country’s premier training facilities: The National Training Center. Every year, National Guardsmen from all over the country train at Combat Training Centers (CTC). Like the JRTC, the National Training Center (NTC) is one of the national guard’s CTCs. The NTC also replicates the conditions that soldiers face on the battlefield, although, a little differently than the JRTC.

The History of the NTC

The NTC’s military roots date back pretty far. In 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Mojave Anti-Aircraft Range. However, in 1942, the base was renamed, Camp Irwin, after the 57th Field Artillery Brigade commander, Major General LeRoy George Irwin, in WWI. In 1944, Camp Irwin shut down. Seven years later, it reopened as an Armored Combat Training Area during the Korean War. Fort Irwin didn’t get the name “Fort Irwin” until 1961 at its permanent installation. However, a decade later it was deactivated once more for maintenance. On August 9, 1979, the Department of the Army announced that Fort Irwin would be the NTC’s home.

NTC Welcome Sign

Training at the NTC

Like the JRTC, the troops here train to overcome the adversities they experience at the NTC. While the JRTC is infamous for its muggy, sticky, and humid climate, the NTC is known for just the opposite. They don’t call the Mojave Dessert “Death Valley” for no reason. The ridiculously hot and dry climate helps the troops train for the weather they might encounter on the battlefield though. The National Training Center website explains that “As in the past, Fort Irwin pits soldiers against a harsh environment, but now adds a determined and formidable opposing force. As during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm, the National Training Center and Fort Irwin continue to train units to fight and win on the battlefield.” Additionally, after 9/11, the NTC transformed to recreate the battlefield similar to the Middle Eastern and Southwest Asian deserts.

Replica of Afghanistan at the NTC

Brigade on Brigade Operations

The NTC, which is 1,200 square miles, is the only location in the country that can accommodate brigade on brigade operations. Lt. Col. Mick Braun says in the Army Times’ article, “Combat Training Rotations will Increase to 18 Days,” by Michelle Tan explains what the training is like. According to Tan, “the brigade and soldiers from several other supporting units were tasked with supporting and defending the fictional country of Atropia from its fictional neighbor Donovia.” Braun says, “You have the threat of an armed invasion from across the border, but you also have an insurgency occurring within the border. What kicks off the scenario is when the Donovians cross the border”.

NTC in Fort Irwin

NTC in Fort Irwin

This training is extremely beneficial to US troops because it allows them to experience combat before entering the actual battlefield. According to the National Training Center website, “Officials from many countries have visited the National Training Center and use it as a model to build their own training centers”. This only proves how important the training at the NTC is for our troops.