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NEWS | Nov. 28, 2022

Meet “Sudden Death”: also known as the 1st Battalion, 182nd Field Artillery, Michigan National Guard

By Master Sgt. Helen Miller Michigan National Guard Public Affairs

The 1st Battalion, 182nd Field Artillery Regiment, also known as the “Sudden Death” Battalion, excelled in many lines of effort during the 2022 training year. The battalion maintained an extremely high operations tempo, achieved the highest retention rate in the Michigan Army National Guard, and increased its lethality and ability to provide timely and accurate fires in contested environments. As the battalion prepares for an upcoming deployment, the 1-182nd Field Artillery Regiment training focuses on building readiness and individual Soldier lethality.

In January 2022, the battalion welcomed Maj. Richie Sands as the battalion commander and Command Sgt. Maj. James Robins as its new CSM. Still operating in a COVID environment early in 2022, one of the units’ challenges was to continue ensuring collective training was still being conducted.

“The battalion placed specific focus and emphasis on training for large-scale combat operations in a degraded environment over this past year”, said Sands. “We highlighted the year with the battalion’s night live-fire exercise qualifying all High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and Fire Direction Sections on Artillery Table VI”.

Soldiers of the battalion shined during 2022 when Sgt. Joshua Beukema won Non-commissioned Officer of the Year, during the Michigan Army National Guard’s NCO of the Year competition and Staff Sgt. Daniel Drumwright received the prestigious Rasmus Hanson Award, given annually to the most outstanding Soldier in the Michigan National Guard in the ranks of E1-E6 for his superior leadership abilities and contributions to the organization.

“One of the biggest impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on the Guard in 2020 through 2021 was the inability to fully integrate families into training events”, said Robins. “During annual training 2022, we finally hosted our first Family Day with over 1,000 family members, alumni, employers, and recruits attending”. Robbins stressed that this played a large part in retention by helping the families understand what their soldiers are doing during training. The battalion conducted a live fire event that the family could observe followed by a barbeque and equipment display allowing the families to see what their Soldiers get to train with.

In July, the battalion focused the entire month on enhancing individual Soldier lethality by dedicating the entire training period to warrior task competencies. This included training on land navigation, first-aid, building individual fighting positions, operating dismounted, utilizing night vision goggles, water survival training, unknown distance ruck marches, chemical, biological radioactive, nuclear (CBRN) response, establishing landing zones during day and night operations, and medical evacuation procedures. The officers conducted their first annual Mangudai challenge, a team building exercise that tested their endurance and physical abilities during a grueling 3-day field training exercise covering almost 30 miles while completing various challenges.

Closing out the year preparing for their upcoming missions in Fiscal Year 23, Alpha Battery 1-182d FAR volunteered to support the mobilization of the 3-197th FAR (New Hampshire Army National Guard) and will deploy in support of Operation Spartan Shield. Additionally, the remainder of the Battalion will mobilize to Adazi, Latvia to participate in Defender Europe 2023 and will conduct HIMARS rapid infiltration (HIRAIN) missions in the U.S. European Command area of operations to demonstrate the rapid movement and fires capabilities of HIMARS. Regardless of the obstacles faced this year, the battalion succeeded in its training, supported each other’s families, and embraced the “Deuce for Life” mantra.