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 timeline for the training rotation at the National Training Center?

A: The majority of 1-34 ABCT main-body Soldiers will be on orders for 34 days during the NTC rotation.  Five training days have been rescheduled from February, March, and April Drill periods to the beginning of the NTC rotation. These additional training days are required in order to ensure we can safely conduct the NTC training under live fire conditions while implementing COVID-19 preventative measures.

Prior to the NTC Rotation:

Fourteen days prior to departure, units begin a 14 day at home monitoring per Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Combat Training Center guidance. Unit leaders will contact their Soldiers daily to validate specified questions and check on their health and family conditions as they safely continue with their normal daily lives and civilian employment. We are training Soldiers in and encouraging them to follow the governor and Center for Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines.

Soldiers will be placed on orders and report for a COVID-19 test within five days (per FORSCOM) prior to their departure and return home. Soldiers whose tests are negative report to muster according to their Battalion's transportation timeline, will be health screened again, manifested, and transported to NTC.

Following NTC rotation:

Prior to departing from NTC, Soldiers will be screened to include reviewing their health and testing that was conducted throughout the NTC rotation. Upon returning to MN Soldiers will be health screened and will be released once they are cleared by a medical provider 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 a NTC rotation in preparation for their upcoming deployment. Tasks that are identified as needing improvement during NTC are retrained at the Mobilization Station.

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 30th.  All NTC rotations starting with the 1/34 ABCT and following 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 its 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: The majority of 1-34th ABCT main-body Soldiers will be on orders for 34 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 1-34 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.