- Associated Press - Saturday, May 17, 2014

COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) - Most of the 3,000-member Vermont Army National Guard is scheduled to spend much of June in Louisiana for specialized training at Fort Polk.

The 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), based in Vermont and filled mostly by Vermont guard members, will take part in simulated combat against a mock opposing force at the Joint Readiness Training Center.

About 3,500 brigade members will undergo the training; another 2,500 soldiers from elsewhere will be at Fort Polk to provide support.

“This is a Superbowlesque event for us,” Vermont Guard spokesman Maj. Chris Gookin said. “Oversimplified, it’s a giant war game.”

The soldiers will spend about half their time in simulated combat.

Besides Vermont, the 86th Brigade includes guard units from Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Michigan.

Gookin said the last time the entire guard unit trained together was when it was sent to Afghanistan in 2010. But no overseas deployments are in store for the unit, he said.

The 86th Brigade will be the only National Guard unit to go through a training cycle at Fort Polk this year.

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