The Ridge Runner exercise, hosted by the West Virginia National Guard and the Irregular Warfare Center, recently took place in West Virginia, focusing on interoperability in unconventional warfare tasks. Primarily involving the 19th Special Forces Group from the Utah Army National Guard, the two-week exercise brought together over 420 troops from 16 nations.
- The Ridge Runner training exercise concentrated on Special Forces mission sets like working with foreign forces, counterinsurgency operations, and irregular warfare.
- The exercise featured real-life simulations in which participants engaged with local government officials, law enforcement, and emergency services in two simulated nations, mimicking real-world procedures and operations.
- The exercise aligns with the larger U.S. Army and Army National Guard shift from counterinsurgency operations to preparing for near-peer threats and potential large-scale operations.
- Irregular warfare exercises like Ridge Runner allow troops to hone their skills in low visibility operations, adaptability, and small unit tactics.
- The 19th and 20th Special Forces Groups of the Army Guard are integrated into special operations missions worldwide, undergoing the same training and deployments as their active-duty counterparts.