National Guardsmen in training

June 12, 2013 5:23 p.m.  •  3 comments

Members of the 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry, based in and around Spokane, will go through training exercises including live fire in an Abrams tank and a Bradley armored vehicle. Live fire exercises are limited by sequestration.

Related story: Federal budget cuts limit National Guard live-fire drills

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While on a dry run without ammunition, a Guardsman lies prone in the grass and waits for orders to advance up a hill at the Yakima Training Center.

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Washington National Guardsmen line up Abrams tanks on a ridge overlooking the dusty valleys of the Yakima Training Center, an expanse of sagebrush country extending from Yakima, east to the Columbia River, and south from I-90 to Union Gap, Washington.

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The driver of an Abrams tank looks out a port to maneuver into position at the Yakima Training Center.

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In a field behind a mockup of a village, a silhouette of a bad guy pops up automatically to draw the fire of National Guardsmen during live-fire training Wednesday, June 12.

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Guardsmen who use larger, belt-fed weapons carefully remove the tracers, which are every fifth round in the belt, then replace them in their carriers before live-fire training begins. Tracers, which illuminate in the dark, are a fire hazard in the dusty desert environs of the Yakima training center.

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With a massive gout of flame and a ground-shaking boom, an M1-A1 Abrams tank fires a round on a ridge overlooking the Yakima Training Center.

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Chaz Grady, of Spokane, signals the rest of his unit to move forward during combat training, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center. The 1st Battalion of the 161st of the Washington National Guard is training in desert-like conditions near Yakima.

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An observer studies the tank targets downrange during live-fire exercises at the Yakima Training Center Wednesday.

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A Washington National Guardsman lies in the dry grass and covers the advance of other soldiers during combat training, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center.

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Washington National Guard personnel observe live tank fire from a ridge overlooking the firing range, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center.

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A Washington National Guard tank crew on an Abrams tank prepares for live fire practice with both .50 caliber machine gun and the main gun on a hilltop, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center.

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Washington National Guardsmen stack their weapons while loading magazines for live-fire scenarios during combat training, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center.

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Washington National Guardsmen move through a plywood mockup of a village during combat training, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center.

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A unit of the Washington National Guard walks back after using a plywood village during combat training, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center.

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Spec. Nick Olson, center, from Colfax, listens with his team to a critique by instructors after a dry-run of a combat scenario, Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the Yakima Training Center.

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