Red Bulls Train in Texas

Training is underway at Fort Cavazos, Texas for the 34th Infantry Division Headquarters. The Division began a mobilization earlier this year, in preparation for a deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

“The headquarters battalion is essentially a support element to ensure that personnel, logistics, and administration issues are all taken care of,” said Lt. Col. Jayson R. Hackett, the headquarters, and headquarters battalion commander. “It’s my job to make sure that we’re synchronized and that we’re getting people where they need to be, that we’re tracking the training, so we know whether or not we need to coordinate additional ranges, classrooms, or training to ensure that we meet all the requirements necessary.”

Hackett has served over 28 years of military experience and deployed three times. Part of his role here is ensuring seamless coordination with the active component at Fort Cavazos to plan and execute training for the Division staff. The 120th Infantry Brigade, at Fort Cavazos, plays a crucial role in executing the bulk of the training necessary for the battalion.

“This training brigade plans and executes all that training that is needed when we go overseas,” said Hackett. “The supervision from the 120th Infantry Brigade validates us. The external evaluation allows the Army to say that we are ready to go.”

Hackett emphasizes the importance of deployment-specific preparation, which involves individual, theater-specific, and collective training for service members.

“They should expect to go through individual training first like weapons qualification, basic first aid,” said Hackett. “And then some of the theater-specific training is followed by the collective training. It is the way the Army always trains, in a building block fashion.”

The validation process allows Soldiers to practice in a forgiving environment and refine the procedures to ensure readiness for the mission ahead.

“Typically, Army units are going to deploy every few years. So, as the situation and environments change, so do the specific requirements and tasks,” said Hackett. “For example, Soldiers previously had a different weapons qualification standard.”

Hackett commends the adaptability of Soldiers in shifting from civilian to military roles.

“Red Bull Soldiers deploy a lot, and we train in a way that really benefits us when the call comes, so I’m very pleased with how well everyone is adjusted,” said Hackett. “It usually takes a few days, you’re taking citizens out of their roles as husbands and fathers, wives, and mothers along with their civilian careers and asking them to be put in a whole different mentally.”

Hackett takes pride in the dedication and preparedness of his Soldiers. He credits their mission focus, teamwork, and family support for setting a foundation for success.

“I am so proud of how amazing the Soldiers are, how well they’re doing,” said Hackett. “I am just extremely pleased, and I want to say thank you to the families for allowing their Soldiers to be so well prepared and be able to make that transition. It is really proving to be very valuable to us.”

He looks forward to staying connected with families throughout the deployment and remains committed to ensuring mission readiness and success.

“Thank you to the families for letting us take their treasures with us,” said Hackett. “We care about them and are going to bring them back.”

Spc. Tyler Becker

Minnesota National Guard