Idaho National Guard conducts tank training on the Orchard Combat Training Center

Posted at 10:36 AM, May 28, 2019

BOISE — The Idaho National Guard maintains a high level of combat readiness as they perform a number of different operations on the Orchard Combat Training Center south of Boise.

The 204th Regional Training Institute conducted a live fire tank exercise to train soldiers on how to operate the 70-ton Abrams tank that comes equipped with a 120 millimeter main gun, providing some serious firepower.

"A tank is a weapon of war. A tank does not have a mind or a conscious," said MSG. Matthew Askew of the Idaho National Guard. "The tank will kill you just as easily as it will kill the enemy."

To conduct training, the Idaho National Guard needs to road march from Gowen Field to the Orchard Combat Training Center, which is a unique area for the guard to train on.

"The OCTC is unique because of our large maneuver area and also because of our ranges," said LT. Col. Mitch Smith of the Idaho National Guard. "We are able to work with different types of units to integrate aviation units, Air Force units, and train ground units at the same time."

The OCTC is also unique in the fact that it is the only military training area located on a National Conservation Area, which means the military has to balance training with protecting the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area.

Over the next two days, we will highlight the partnerships that make it possible for the military to train and the challenges that come with being located on the Birds of Prey NCA.

To see more on the live fire tank training, check out the video.