||Welcome to the 29th Infantry Division
The 29th Infantry Division is a realism unit spread throughout multiple games in multiple time periods. Each game is supported separately by different companies while serving under the same Battalion so that all games and soldiers function individually and as all whole.|
Realism is the conducting of a gaming group as close to real combat as possible.
Above, you will find our primary navigation menu with five links on it. For each of the links, a submenu is provided on the left of the page with related links.
For more information about the 29th, read our About page.
|Monday, January 8, 2018
29th Infantry Division: 2017 Year in Review by
|2017 was a big year for the unit, with its barrage of changes and events shaping the course of the past 12 months and the future for us as a whole; so as 2017 transitions into another page in the history books and comes to a close, it's time to look back on the year and all that it brought.|
We started off the year pretty quietly as we eased back in from the winter break, but by March we had our first big event with the announcement of the 29th's "First Annual Dona-cruitment Drive Extravaganza", running from March 19th till April 30th. For every recruit that graduated BCT and made it into the 29th, Battalion Senior NCO MSgt. Conrad pledged to donate $1 to help the 29th continue running, in addition to promising a free Steam game to each of the three highest recruiters in each Company at the end of the drive. A raffle was also launched including all those in the unit who provided a recurring donation of any amount, giving prizes like Steam games and gaming gear to whoever was lucky enough to win.
Also in March, we saw the announcement of MSgt. Conrad's "ZeuSaturday" campaign for Arma 3, beginning with Operation Typhon. This was a bi-weekly PvE event featuring an on-going story, ran by MSgt. Conrad and PFC Vogel as gamemasters. Other people within the unit were also given the chance to run their own campaigns on every other week. Initially open to all in the unit, the unique series of campaigns were soon opened up to the public too.
"ZeuSaturday started as a dream and a bundle of twigs that PFC Vogel and I had before he had even joined the unit. I made him join so we could run it together and I can't imagine it going much better than it did.
We both put in a few hours every two weeks to make sure the mission was organized and ready with a full WARNO for any who would want to participate. We had early issues finding the balance of how many enemies we needed to take on the 29th, but we quickly learned. Overall the reception was warm, with a number of extremely dedicated members who made sure to attend every mission, hell or high water. To those of you that this applies to, you know who you are; we couldn't have done it without you.
It was wonderful to be able to spend time with members of the unit in a mostly social capacity, which I so rarely get to do anymore, and just have fun and meet people. With Operations working in the same ZeuSaturday time slot alongside Typhon, I expect we will have our plates full with ARMA community events in 2018."
MSgt. Conrad, Battalion Senior NCO
Arma 3; Courtesy of T/4 Burg
The start of April saw mass confusion among the unit as "junior platoons" were announced, declaring that all members under the age of 18 would be separated from their elder unit-mates into a set of different platoons; this confusion subsided when it was realized that it was April Fools' Day.
Later on in April brought us the first official deployment of the year against another unit for Baker Company's First Platoon. 2Lt. Dashwood led the side here against the 1st SS in a strong victory during the defending round, but unfortunately they were not as fortunate in the attacking round. Two Bronze Stars, two Soldier's Medals, and a Purple Heart were awarded for efforts during this deployment.
"Upon closing into the town during the deployment we were engaged by enemy MG fire; we were in open terrain with only a few hedges providing some cover. Me and PFC Halme decided to be patient and wait it out, hiding amongst the fallen and the bushes.
We stormed a small housing complex just north of the main town before flanking it from the west and clearing the church tower and killing an enemy MG. We started clearing more enemy buildings on the north side: this forced the enemy to withdraw, opening the heavily pinned BP1 to move in to secure the town. After seizing the town, we had to defend it with the remainder of enemy forces holding a villa just west of the town, which we did successfully. Unfortunately we were not awarded the victory for the attacking round as not all defenders had been killed.
I thought that there was great teamwork between the squads to orchestrate the original taking of the town but we were just unfortunate. It was a heart-thumping experience to listen quietly for enemy movement and to turn corners, but me and PFC Halme acted like a two-man army back there."
PFC Baron, Bronze Star Recipient
Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45; Courtesy of PFC Baron
April actually brought us two official deployments, the second of which involved our own AP3 under WO1 Littlefield clashing against the 352nd Volksgrenadier Division. Two Bronze Stars, two Soldier's Medals, and two Army Commendation Medals were distributed following their victory in both rounds of the deployment.
On May 11th, the 29th launched a public "exploration" server into Squad. This was to let the unit "test the waters" in the game and see if there was enough interest from the player-base for an expansion into it. This largely contributed to the decision for the expansion later on in the year. Also in May we had the first of Sgt. Barclay's two OCS scrimmages, the final steps to being commissioned an officer in the 29th. His second one came in mid-June, whereupon he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at the end of a close battle.
"I would say I was a little anxious before the first OCS scrim. I had attended a couple of them previously and was aware of the importance. I also knew that for this one I would be the focal point of everyone's attention. At the time I was a squad leader and not a platoon sergeant, so I was not sure what platoon I would be leading. I found out when I was given the information for the scrim I would be leading AP3 at the EST company drill. At that time AP3 had just come off of the deployment and I had attended most of their platoon drills leading up to it so I had an idea of each squads' skills and who were some of their more dangerous players; that helped relieve some of the anxiety. After getting the first one under my belt, I felt a lot more confident. During my second OCS scrim I was assigned to lead AP4, the platoon that I took over later that day. This one was during the GMT company drill and the numbers were just a little unbalanced so they brought over my squad from AP1 to fight with me. It really felt good fighting with my squad.
When I compare a normal drill to an OCS, I take it back to when I was a Private and I was the last guy alive during a company drill. I knew my whole team was watching me, my heart was pounding, my palms were sweating, and my mouth was dry. Just knowing that if I made a mistake the round was lost, wanting to prove myself to my squad and platoon leadership. The OCS scrim was a lot like that but from the beginning.
Moving up from squad leadership to platoon leadership is about the same just magnified three times. Drills are larger and paperwork is tripled. When leading the platoon, I do my best to make each and every drill fun while attempting to work on or teach a needed skill. After all the whole reason we are all here is to have fun with our fellow 29th members."
2Lt. Barclay, AP1 Platoon Leader
Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm; Courtesy of 2Lt. Wolf
Following the Squad exploration server, on June 12th came the Rising Storm 2: Vietnam public server to see if there was any interest in a unit expansion into the sequel to the popular mod to Red Orchestra: 2, a game our own Able Company was already based in.
July brought us the OCS scrims of WO1 Brewer as he showed he had what it took to be an officer in the 29th. After two tough fights, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Also in July was the start of Charlie Company's Mechanized Battle of the Squads tournament, an event which saw rich participation from all squads in the company as they fought each other over a 4 week period. Each match's objective was to win control of a certain sector of the map, and each squad was given a Russian BMD-2 airborne infantry fighting vehicle to help them do so. At the end of a fierce few weeks, CP2S3 emerged largely victorious with a powerful and undefeated run against the 5 other teams.
Arguably the biggest change of the year came in September when it was announced that two new companies, "Dog" and "Easy", would be opened very soon after an overwhelming response to a unit-wide survey to allow the unit to expand into Squad and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. This change largely affected Able and Baker Company who both saw a large portion of their enlisted personnel migrating to the new companies.
The expansion would not happen until a month later on October 1st, where a smooth transition into the two new companies took place. It was not until a further few weeks later that the 29th finally opened its doors for new recruits to enlist into basic combat training for both companies.
"This year, I think the unit had a breakthrough with how we did OCS. Unlike in previous years where maybe one or two people get through in the span of a year, we had five pass in three Companies! Being an integral part of that was really rewarding. And I think its rewarding for most of the unit. It means that your Platoon, Company, and Battalion HQ is watching Squad Leaders do their thing and figuring out which ones have what it takes to become a Platoon Leader. Over a year ago, Officers were a dying breed, but now with a centralized OCS structure in terms of getting our candidates through OCS and making sure all facets of the CoC are working hand in hand, this should never be the case again. With that said, all of that is mostly my gig and I hope that with the addition of new Platoon Leaders in the unit, a lot more people have a better experience in their Platoon cultures.
One of the big hurdles with unit expansion is that a new company needs to bring together people who are from different companies, different platoons and different squads. The initial hiccup in that expansion is addressing that, making sure people don't feel that they're being ripped from their mates. In Dog, we were small enough with a wide variety of guys from different places that we were able to largely avoid this. For instance, DP2S1, made up of Baker and Able guys, has come together nicely over the past few months. Hype-wise, we wouldn't be in Rising Storm 2 if people weren't hyped. I mean, what other games other than maybe Arma 3 can you play where Napalm can be used in drill to tactical and satisfying effect.
Another neat thing about this expansion is that a lot of the guys paving the way came from Able, which being from Able myself, I take a little bit of pride seeing that the guys trained under me and by my Platoon HQs are largely leading the way. Whether they are in Easy, Dog, or still in Able, they're all undertaking new experiences which requires them to really step up and contribute. Seeing how many people have done so shows their high level of commitment both to their mates, their companies, and to the 29th at large."
Cpt. Fritz, Dog Company Commanding Officer
Squad; Courtesy of PFC McDonough
Moving back to September, this month also saw the OCS scrims of CP2's Platoon Leader, WO1 Kear. Both fights came to a very close conclusion but the Warrant Officer by the end had shown he more than possessed the skills to earn a commission to Second Lieutenant in a ceremony that also saw multiple enlisted personnel be awarded various medals for their efforts during the fights.
"The OCS scrims were a tough, but necessary, display of one's ability to lead a platoon and maintain command and cohesion to accomplish your assigned goals and, ultimately, achieve victory. I was fortunate enough to have some stellar men at my disposal who were led by equally excellent squad leaders and assistant squad leaders, all of whom I had trained myself, so the scrims were just as much about demonstrating my aptitude as a platoon leader through battlefield leadership as it was about proving my worth as a platoon leader who could be relied upon to foster the next generation of leadership through the mentorship and training of those under me.
The battles themselves were tense and rife with impressive displays of marksmanship from both "sides" involved in the scrim and it even earned one CP2er, PFC Ahlinder, the honorific title "the sloth" for his meticulous but devastating slow-and-steady solo CQC building clearing in a nail-biting 3v1 situation.
Regarding the entire OCS process as a whole it was enjoyable, educational, and challenging but I'll say no more than quote the good Lt. Col. Wilson (Ret.)'s wisdom for any aspirant officers in the 29th: "Telling someone to take initiative defeats the purpose of initiative. [...] Think you have what it takes to be an officer? Use your brain to figure out how to demonstrate it! We're always watching."
As for my personal advice to any future leaders in the 29th (wherever you may end up) the three key traits of reliability, integrity, and competency will take you far. 2017 was a good year for the 29th I'm eager to see what 2018 holds!"
2Lt. Kear, CP2 Platoon Leader
This would not be 2017's last OCS scrim in Charlie Company with Sgt. Nelson, at the time a Platoon Sergeant for CP1, proving he deserved a commission a month after in October. He was simultaneously promoted to Platoon Leader of CP1 and commissioned a Second Lieutenant in a virtuous ceremony that followed a hard-fought brawl.
November brought the unit something unique as the first official deployment was announced for Charlie Company since migrating into Arma 3 against the 2nd MRB, with CP2 under 2Lt. Kear being selected to fight. Albeit the first round was lost due to a technicality, CP2 bounced back with a fierce victory in its defending round in a tough fight that lasted almost 2 hours. Two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, and a Soldier's Medal were later awarded for crucial combat efforts during the battle.
"For the attacking round against the 2nd MRB, after having spent a few hours just staring at the terrain and the map, I started to realize a victory would be impossible without a single hard push supported by whatever we could spare. If we let the enemy whittle us down in a long skirmish, we'd no longer have the numbers necessary for that decisive push.
If even for a few dozen seconds, their attention needed to be away from the side in which we wanted to push from; in that moment of temporary chaos, we'd push as hard as we could into the objective compound. The plan from there on out was to get stuck in, as it was impossible to plan much further than ”get inside, kill everything.”
As for the defending round, with the 2Lt. safely in cover in the main compound, I decided that I would be best used as a recon element, given the many angles we couldn't cover. I moved to cover the eastern flanks, east of third squad's position. There, I ran into a two-man flanking force. After having recovered my composure and putting on my big-boy pants, I killed one of them and legged it out of there, advising S3 of the possible flankers.
I made my way into the town east of the objective, where I spent around 20 minutes simply keeping my eyes on the eastern flank. After hearing some gunshots and a few target call-outs, I moved further north in the town where I ran into what I later found out was their HQ team which I slowly took out by continually relocating after each kill. After coming off of my high, I made my way nearer to the objective as the enemy was likely to do a last desperate push. Those last 10 minutes waiting for "GAME" to be called felt like an eternity."
SSgt. Christiansen, Silver Star & Soldier's Medal Recipient
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam; Courtesy of Cpt. Fritz
We finished the year with a final OCS scrim, this time for Sgt. Wolf. Once again after two tough battles, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on the 17th of December, ending a year of intense competitive events for the unit.
As the year ends, we finish with a total membership of 303 people among our five companies and above. 24 people passed Squad Leadership Training this year and became non-commissioned officers, 5 people passed Officer Candidate School and were commissioned, and a total of almost 2,000 official 29th drills were conducted within the 12 month period.
"My most notable moment this year was seeing the community stepping up as a whole and taking on extra responsibilities that I needed to delegate due to the birth of my first born child. The efforts put forward by so many people, especially leading up to a major expansion, ensured smooth operations of the unit and allowed me to focus on being with my family. In addition to this, the numerous PM's and messages on Steam following his birth reminded me that the unit is truly a family on so many levels.
When Major Cooke and I came out of BCT back in the 153rd Training Platoon, the unit definitely looked much different. For instance, we had two platoons and our highest rank was Captain. While we have since expanded out to five separate multi-platoon companies and the roster is quite larger, the core of the unit is still very similar to how it was way back around in my early days. The unit strives to excel in every manner: from a clerk doing the AAR to a platoon preparing for a scrim, it's this drive that allows for the unit as a whole to successfully accomplish so much and be focused on the next task at hand.
When we started out 2017, Battalion Headquarters sought to accomplish a handful of goals that would help to ensure the strength of the unit throughout the new year and beyond. These goals included implementing a revised OCS program to efficiently develop officers for all companies, boosting drill attendance across the battalion, revising and refining the offices including both their function and leadership structure to increase their efficiency, keeping our eyes open for expansion opportunities on the horizon, and of course, pursuing deployment opportunities. As a whole, Battalion Headquarters feels that the unit was successful in many of these goals, though we still see room for improvement on many fronts and look forward to working with leadership of all levels to exceed all expectations in the future."
Lt. Col. Wheatley, Battalion Commander
So that was 2017 for the 29th in a nutshell; we have seen promotions, commissions, announcements, events, and changes that will be regarded well into the future. As 2018 approaches, we can begin to anticipate even more of these as the months progress by: we will see the 1000th training platoon soon, as well as a fresh batch of NCOs and a plethora of new members ready to write their own story within the unit.
What else we are to see is just for us all to inscribe.
Written by PFC Laird
|Wednesday, April 5, 2017
[Civil Affairs] Why do we "fight"? by
Photo Credit: Sgt. Nelson
Why do we "fight"? I think most people that have played any type of games would understand and agree why we play them, but what makes us want to be a part of a realism unit? Since the dawn of time, mankind has played games and sports to keep themselves entertained. Keeping one's self entertained has come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the ancient Romans playing tic-tac-toe to the 21st century with the invention of video games. In each of us, our blood runs heavy with the drive of competition: humans were born to compete. Humans are constantly fighting for resources and to pass on their lineage. Some of us compete in the form of sports, board games, and video games, but whatever our background, we all chose to be a part of a realism unit. But why? What makes realism so unique and appealing that people would spend hours of their time weekly playing with strangers from around the world? Well, I suppose we should start with the origins of realism itself:
What is the definition of a realism unit you may ask? Another term for a realism unit is a Virtual Military Organization (VMO) and it is the practice of an online organization trying to function as close to the real military as possible. This usually comes with ranks and a chain of command, logistics, and expressed tactics on the field of battle. The set moment in history when someone decided to start an organization that resembles the real military in video games is unknown, but VMO's have seen a surge in popularity over the last decade with the release newer technology . In just about any sandbox or military-styled game, someone can start their own VMO. Popular games such as Day of Defeat, Red Orchestra, and the ArmA series have become breeding grounds for these realism units. But what makes someone want to be a part of a realism unit?
This question has many answers and is all dependent on the individual. All members of a realism group such as the 29th have some affinity and love for video games, but that would not explain why someone would willingly take orders from superiors and spend their time and resources for such a hobby. Perhaps some 29thers can offer insight to why they chose to be a part of a realism group.
"It's just different to most other units. Compared to another unit, I feel like, in the 29th, the rank system holds more weight. I don't know what it is but in the 29th if you see a rank you know that that person probably has been in the unit for 2 or more years and therefore knows what is going on and obviously has some commitment to the unit."
- PFC Millin, Able Company, Fourth Platoon, Second Squad
"I'm part of a realism unit because I'm willing to get some feeling of how the real army might feel and as it's going now with my years into realism units with swapping and discharging, I've found that I quite like the strictness and realistic way of communicating. I also find it an easy way to overcome my introverted personality and learn to speak for others and work with a group towards a single goal."
- Cpl. van Gastel, Charlie Company, Second Platoon, First Squad
"After I enlisted and got accepted into the 29th, I saw that this unit contains more than just a basic game playing community: a group of members come together for creating a different environment and style of good gaming."
- T/5 Orhan, Baker Company, First Platoon's Platoon Clerk
"Mostly for the pay, and the dental... But in all seriousness, I am here for the community. The lads I have served with these last three years are some of the finest I have ever had the privilege of fighting alongside."
- 2Lt. Dashwood, Baker Company, First Platoon's Platoon Leader
"Competition. The building of a team, honing their skills, anticipation before the battle and the thrill of being in it."
- FSgt. Balzer, Charlie Company HQ's Senior NCO
"Realism adds an extra layer of fun. I missed it from my time in Day of Defeat and the 29th is one of the few remaining realism units from those days."
- Cpl. Dethfield, Able Company, Third Platoon, Second Squad
"For being a part of an organized operation, with a lot of people working together."
- PFC Danberg, Charlie Company, Second Platoon, First Squad
Whatever our reasons are for being a part of the 29th as a realism group, we all have some reasons in common. We enjoy learning from our mistakes and working with others, and we enjoy meeting new people that share common goals and interests. But above all, I think we all enjoy the ability to call each other friends and comrades. Whatever your reason may be to be a part of a realism unit, or wanting to try one out, we have a place for you here.
29th, Ever forward!
Written by: PFC Donofrio
Edited by: WO1 Brewer
Approved by: Bn. S3 and CoCA
|Wednesday, October 28, 2015
[Civil Affairs] Lighthouse Corps Ten Years Anniversary! by
Lt. Col. Wheatley
This October, we mark the 10 year anniversary of the Lighthouse Corps. As the base of the unit, this corps has been successful in recruiting and training cadets to be the next generation of 29th soldiers.
The Lighthouse Corps started its enlistment processing and training of recruits in DoD on dod_lighthouse, all the way back in 2005, and hasn’t skipped a beat since. It has brought up many members of the 29th, in fact, every notable name within the unit. From Lt. Col. Wheatley to veteran SSgt. Brewer, there is no shortage in names and training platoons which have risen from the Corps’ dedication and hard work. Some memorable TPs are the “centurions, the 100th (Cpt. Wilson), 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th, and 600th. More specifically, TPs with notable graduates include the 121st (SSgt. Brewer), 145th (MSgt. Hart), 153rd (Lt. Col. Wheatley and Cpt. Cooke), 192nd (FSgt. Lev), 246th (Cpl. Selleck), 252nd (TSgt. Balzer), and 292nd (FSgt. Hill). All training platoons, from the 112th to 280th, are kept in the archives of the old forums system.
Shortly after the release of Darkest Hour, the unit moved to the new Red Orchestra mod and has been training and drilling in the game ever since. The new game gave rise to the creation of the memorable Fort Meade map that all cadets train on before graduation. As far as what goes on behind the walls of Fort Meade, 2Lt. Jacobsson, Chief of Lighthouse Corps, had his input. “We expect our DIs and ADIs to be the best, and we want to give the cadets an experience of being yelled at. Not breaking them down, but getting them ready to be in the squad they will join. We want as many to pass as possible, someone might fail here and there attendance or POA wise, but we are benefited more if as many cadets as possible graduate."
All remained the same after the move to Darkest Hour until the fall of 2013, when a historical move was made by HQ. The unit was to split into three different games; Baker remaining in Darkest Hour, dissolving Dog Company, and assigning Able to Rising Storm and Charlie to Arma II, then to Arma III. The Lighthouse faced a difficult situation in which they needed to deal with three different games and task enlistment liaisons, DIs, and ADIs to these games. However, the Corps never had any serious lack of personnel due to its popularity in the unit.
Training in the different games varies due to different game types, engine tricks, and vehicles. While training of these aspects is different for every company, the principle of training remains constant throughout.
Although many believe that the Lighthouse only deals with recruits, 2Lt. Jacobsson proves otherwise. “We deal with anything involving recruits, but also deal with recruitment records and awards related to recruiting and weapons passes.” The Lighthouse Corps currently has 84 members, making it the largest office in the unit.
Currently, the office is headed by 2Lt. Jacobsson, who has seen two tours of duty throughout his time in the 29th, totaling three and a half years of service. He was the former captain of Able in Darkest Hour, a former platoon clerk, and DI. He originally went into reserves as an Able Clerk, but later accepted the job as Chief of Lighthouse Corps after it was offered to him. He has done tremendously well as chief and the 29th is growing like never before. A new notable accomplishment was the opening of the first GMT-based TP for Arma III on August 8th, 2015. As for his office staff, 2Lt. Jacobsson had this to say: “I would like to commemorate FSgt. Cyr, my assistant chief, Cpl. Langford my secretary, and my senior DIs SSgt. Chevarie, T/5 Järvinen, and 2Lt. Pinckney. These are all people in my office that are a great help and I can trust them to do any work I give them.”
And as for the chief’s last piece of advice: “I always say if you want to have a good time, send in an application when a spot opens. It’s fun work and it really contributes to the unit as a whole. We train all cadets and they are the future of the 29th.”
Written by: PFC Chamine
Edited by: SSgt. Brewer and Cpl. Langford
Approved by: Bn. S3 and CoCA
Original Post: http://forums.29th.org/discussion/7459/civil-affairs-lighthouse-corps-ten-years-anniversary
|Tuesday, October 7, 2014
[Civil Affairs] The Man Behind the Scenes by
Written by: Finance Corps
Edited by: Finance Corps/Civil Affairs Corps
Approved by: Cpt. Walker
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