GOT THE SCENT — The debris and smashed cars are all a constructed facade, but the realistic training is one-of-a-kind at the Preparedness Training Center in Whitestown. Here, a police K-9 sniffs at a suspicious package during a day-long training scenario at the facility last year. Some 200 New York National Guard soldiers will conduct tactical and medical evacuation training at the state Preparedness Training Center this weekend at the former county airport.

Over 200 soldiers to engage in combat training at Whitestown center

Published Mar 10, 2016 at 4:00pm

WHITESTOWN — Some 200 New York National Guard soldiers will conduct tactical and medical evacuation training at the state Preparedness Training Center this weekend at the former county airport.

Members of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, will use the runways, some buildings, and the space available at the center to prepare for a three-week exercise at Fort Polk, La., this summer. On Saturday and Sunday, the soldiers, who are based at armories in Utica, Gloversville and Leeds, will train in motor vehicle convoy operations, dismounted night movement using night vision goggles, assaulting an enemy position, the use of mortars, reconnaissance techniques, and treating combat casualties and loading them on medical evacuation helicopters.

“The New York State Preparedness Training Center provides a great location for our citizen soldiers to train in the Mohawk Valley,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the outgoing adjutant general of New York. “The center provides space to conduct complex training involving several hundred troops and facilities which allow our soldiers to operate in built-up environments as well.”

On Saturday, the soldiers will conduct tactical and casualty evacuation training that includes practice loading combat casualties into UH-60 air ambulance helicopters. National Guard participants on Saturday include 120 soldiers from Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry in Utica; 80 soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, in Gloversville; and two UH-60s and aircrew from F Company, 1st Battalion, 169th General Support Aviation Battalion, based in Rochester.

On Sunday, UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Company A, 3rd Battalion 142nd Aviation Battalion, based in Latham, will conduct training with the United States Army Reserve’s 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion from Mattydale.

The center features an array of training venues. Operated by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, it is used primarily by first responders.

“The State Preparedness Training Center’s expansive 1,000 acre property, coupled with its wide array of training venues, offers the National Guard a world-class facility to conduct their exercises,” said New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner John P. Melville. “Built on the grounds of the former Oneida County Airport, the center’s numerous outbuildings and hangers, and long runways, give the National Guard an ideal location to conduct training exercises out of the public eye.”