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National Guard's 155th ABCT hosts exercise for top Army officials

CAMP SHELBY, MS (WDAM - July 24, 2014) - A Mississippi National Guard unit has taken part in a first-of-its-kind training exercise, not only to improve its warfighting skills, but also to improve its chances of surviving future cuts in defense spending. A Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) Wednesday was the largest ever undertaken at Camp Shelby by the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team.

It involved tanks, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

It was also viewed by top officials from the Secretary of Defense's office and the National Guard Bureau. The goal was to convince those officials that the 155th is too important to be cut from National Guard's inventory of combat brigades.

"We have the newest equipment, we just got fielded brand new tanks and brand new (Bradley Fighting Vehicles)," said Col. Jeff Van, commander of the 155th ABCT. "So, sometimes it helps the people who are making the big decisions inside the Beltway and making those national-level strategic decisions to come down and get a first-hand view of what we can do and what our capabilities are," Van said.

The 155th is currently undergoing its two-week annual training at Camp Shelby.