NTC 2020 Information

The Minnesota National Guard's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division will conduct a training rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, in July 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the process if a Soldier receives a Red Cross message while at NTC?

A: If the unit receives a Red Cross message while at NTC, the Soldier will be notified, transported to the main post, and prepped and packed for travel. If the Soldier selects to be tested, the Soldier will be tested with priority processing. The test result will be received in the times it takes to meet their transportation home.

Q: What is the timeline for the training rotation at the National Training Center?

A: Given recent State Active Duty and recovery efforts, the overall NTC rotation timeline for main-body Soldiers has been reduced from 34 days to 31 days. In addition, Soldiers of the main body will report to Camp Ripley after July 4, allowing them to celebrate Independence Day at home. 

The amount of time in "the box," taking part in the force-on-force and live-fire exercise, will be reduced from 14 to 10 days to allow Soldiers to conduct additional proficiency training and become more familiar with equipment on the front end. Our objective here is the increased safety of our Soldiers.

Training during this time will be based on unit, equipment and mission type and is still being discussed among senior leaders at unit and higher levels.

Prior to the NTC Rotation:

Fourteen days prior to departure, units will conduct at-home monitoring via leader check-ins, per Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Combat Training Center guidance. Leaders will contact their Soldiers to check on their health and family conditions as they safely continue their normal daily lives and civilian employment. We are informing Soldiers of — and encouraging them to follow — social-distancing guidelines shared by the Governor and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Soldiers will receive a COVID-19 test on the first day of their orders. Forward movement to Fort Irwin will take place after the unit receives COVID-19 test results. Soldiers who test negative will be transported to NTC to conduct training as planned. Soldiers who test positive for will receive daily medical assessments and treated for health concerns as necessary. They will be released to their home of record after being cleared by a medical provider.

Following NTC rotation:

Prior to departing from NTC, Soldiers will be screened, including a review of their current health and any testing that was conducted throughout the NTC rotation. Upon returning to MN, Soldiers will be released once they are cleared by a medical providers to ensure the safe return of our Soldiers to their families.

Q: Why is it so crucial for 1/34th ABCT to attend NTC at this time?

A: Army Forces Command is directing the 1/34 ABCT to execute an NTC rotation in preparation for their upcoming deployment. NTC provides critical training and a chance to identify room for improvement. Ensuring we complete this training over the summer will prevent us from having to add additional days prior to mobilization which would impact Soldiers during the holiday season.

Q: I heard that other NTC rotations have been cancelled or rescheduled ahead of and behind us, why are we still going forward with NTC training?

A: The rotations ahead of 1/34th ABCT were rescheduled because of the Department of Defense's stop movement order. The 1/34 ABCT is the first rotation after the stop movement order expires on June 30. All NTC rotations starting with the 1/34 ABCT and following the 1/34 ABCT will be conducted as scheduled by FORSCOM.

Q: What communication method has been used to pass changes regarding the NTC rotation to Soldiers and their families?

A: Changes are communicated through the chain-of-command from the Brigade Headquarters down to the company level. If a Soldier has any questions, they should reach out to their chain-of-command.

Q: What is the plan to reduce spread of COVID-19?

A: The 1/34th ABCT takes the health of our Soldiers seriously. Transportation, including buses and air travel, will include social distancing measures to and from NTC.

Upon arrival to Fort Irwin, Soldiers will go through a medical screening. Anyone who may be experiencing symptoms will be pulled aside to a separate designated billeting area to be tested.

Soldiers will be sent into the field, known as "the box," as soon as possible. This will ensure Soldiers are in smaller groups to reduce the likelihood of infection. The outside Observer Coach/Trainers will also stay in the box  with the Soldiers they are observing rather than coming and going as they have in the past.

While in the box, increased handwashing stations and latrines will be available. Soldiers will have daily health screenings, and are able to be tested in the field if the Soldier is experiencing symptoms. If a Soldier is experiencing symptoms, the Soldier will be moved away from the group to be tested. If needed, those the Soldier has been in contact with will also be tested and/or quarantined.

Q: Are the Soldiers going to be tested for COVID-19 before NTC? After?

A: Soldiers will be tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving for NTC.

NTC is by nature an isolated environment, with little to no exposure to those outside of the training environment. Upon returning from NTC, Soldiers will receive a medical screening. Once a Soldier is medically cleared, they will return home

Q: Are masks going to be part of the uniform?

A: Yes. Cloth masks will be issued to Soldiers and they will be required to wear them.

Q: What is the protocol for dealing with a sick person or COVID-19 positive person at NTC?

A: Soldiers who are experiencing symptoms will be separated, screened and tested. A robust medical support plan is in place to provide the necessary medical treatment. Fort Irwin is prepared to deal with any medical condition encountered during the NTC rotation, including COVID-19.

Q: How long will Soldiers be on orders?

A: 1/34 ABCT main-body Soldiers will be on orders for 31 days. Some Soldiers will serve for additional duty before or after the main rotation. All Soldiers will remain on continuous orders until they are medically released following their duty completion. Soldiers on orders for longer than 30 days will receive all entitled benefits (including BAH and BAS).

Q: My employer has a policy that states I must quarantine for 14 days if I leave the state prior to returning to work. Will I be on orders during this mandated quarantine?

A: The 1/34th ABCT is following protective guidance provided by FORSCOM.  Upon the completion of NTC, all Soldiers will be medically cleared prior to being released. Soldiers will stay on orders, if required, based on medical assessments until they are cleared to return back to their civilian employer.

Military personnel are protected under Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), this includes during the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you have concerns we encourage Soldiers and employers to call their Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) representative 1.800.336.4590 (Option 1).

For more info: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/VETS/files/USERRA-COVID-19-Impact.pdf

Q: My family care plan is a frontline worker and will not be able to care for our kids while I’m gone.

My family care plan is not setup to include the realities of a global pandemic.

I’m a single parent and my childcare plans have changed with the pandemic.

A: We understand that we are in challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a Soldier experiencing extenuating circumstances, reach out to your chain-of-command.