Truckee soldier off to third deployment | SierraSun.com
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Truckee soldier off to third deployment

Steve Ranson
Sun News Service
Kim Lamb/Sun News ServiceNevada Army National Guardsmen Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Bongiovanni of Truckee, right, serves with Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron 221st Cavalry in Yerington. During weekend drill, he ensures his squad is packign the right gear. The entire squadron, which consists of 600 soldiers from northern Nevada and Las Vegas, will deploy to Afghanistan this spring.
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YERINGTON, Nev. ” As a 14-year veteran of the National Guard, Truckee Staff Sgt. Ryan Bongiovanni knows firsthand the hardships associated with overseas deployments, especially to a war zone. The Nevada Army National Guardsmen will make his third deployment, this time overseas when his unit deploys this spring for Afghanistan.

“I am proud to serve my country and lead these men in combat,” said Bongiovanni on Friday as soldiers in Yerington’s Alpha Troop of the 1st Squadron 221st Cavalry began their weekend drill. Approximately 600 guardsmen ” most from three units in Las Vegas ” recently received their alert notification for overseas deployment.

Between now and the time the squadron reports for additional stateside training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., the 221st Cav will spend two weeks in early February at Camp Roberts a California Army National Guard training site north of San Luis Obispo.

Once in Afghanistan, the soldiers will convoy to Laghman Province to provide security for a provincial reconstruction team that is rebuilding the country. They will also conduct combat and infantry missions to ensure civil order. Bongiovanni, who works in management at Northstar Resort, previously served on a security mission to guard the state’s airports and Air Guard facilities after 9/11.

The squadron also deployed to Ft. Irwin, Calif., from 2004-2006 to provide OPFOR (opposing forces) training for units heading to Iraq. The Truckee resident has been in the unit for nine years. But it’s been both the experience at Ft. Irwin and in Nevada that should prepare local guardsmen for their deployment to Afghanistan.

“We’re used to terrain and climatized,” he said, noting how similar Nevada’s valleys and mountains are similar. “We have good field craft because many of us are outdoorsmen.”

Yet, the local training for the Yerington troop, which includes soldiers from Carson City, Lake Tahoe, Reno, Sparks, Fernley and Fallon, also has prepared guardsmen for the dangers of performing their mission half a world away. Soldiers have received additional instruction in convoy operations and MOUT, Military Operations on Urban Terrain. Both the Fallon Naval Air Station and Hawthorne Army Depot have constructed MOUT sites to help soldiers refine their skills in securing buildings.

“The MOUT training here is pretty realistic. The buildings here are about the same size (of those in Iraq),” Deal said. Capt. Nicholas T. Moran, unit commander, said soldiers will find this mission “enjoyable.” “They’ll be able to interact with the locals,” said Moran, who assumed command in September. “There’s a lot of variety in the work, and many soldiers are volunteering to come with us.”


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