JRTC 13-09
U.S. Army infantrymen assigned to the 2nd Platoon, Apache Company, 1-23 Infantry Battalion, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the "Earth Pigs" from Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., wait near their Stryker Infantry Combat Vehicle outside the training village of Janan on Fort Polk, La., during Joint Readiness Training Center rotation 13-09, Aug 21, 2013. The exercise scenarios replicate many of the unique situations and challenges a unit may face to include host national officials and citizens, insurgents and terrorists, news media coverage and non-governmental organizations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres/Released)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Apache Company is ready to take the reins as part of the Department of Defense's global response force after several months of what seemed like endless training at times.

Company A is part of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment "Tomahawks," 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. They assumed their role as part of the U.S. global response force Oct. 1.

"We are in support of the 82nd Airborne GRF. We also have a mission where we support the Department of Defense as well. Basically we are given a certain standard to which we have to be able to respond and support a mission from the Department of Defense or Secretary of the Army," said Cpt. Paul Brown, commander, Company A, 1-23 Inf., of Youngstown, Ohio.

Their new role as part of the GRF places them on the same 24/7 standby schedule as 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne. They must be able and ready to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours.

"This is our mission. Once we [took] over the [GRF] mission we focus on that and everything else comes second. As we go forward, we'll train and continue to do what we need to do, but based on what we're told, basically we're told we won't be touched. We'll stay locally, do training locally, that way when we get called upon we're ready to get one platoon out of here within 18 hours," said 1st Sgt. Charles Pittman, the company's first sergeant.

Apache Company prepared throughout the year for this mission, with their capstone training exercise being a trip to the Joint Readiness Training Center, at Fort Polk, La., in August. There they had a chance to rediscover their training doctrine.

"What's interesting about Apache Company is that they're the most highly trained company in the brigade. I'm proud that they're part of my unit. During their training at Yakima Training Center and JRTC they focused on the fundamentals of what we do and they got better every day," said Lt. Col. Corey Crosbie, battalion commander, 1-23 Inf. "The men are ready for this mission."

The soldiers got a lot out of the training and had fun while they were at it.

"It was a great look at the change in the way we're operating now, going from the [Counterinsurgency] fight to what they call [Decisive Action], which is the COIN fight and a conventional fight. It was like 'wow, I would've never expected this,'" said Spc. Michael Thayer, of Casper, Wyo., an "Apache" soldier in the company's sniper section.

The Mobile Gun System Platoon Leader, 1st Lt. Charles Sullivan, of Washington, D.C., agreed with Thayer's account.

"The opportunities we were given at JRTC with this big exercise, the GRF, were really something else. It was good to see how everything fit together, or when it didn't fit together where you find those friction points to improve," said Sullivan.

With the training behind them, the Soldiers of Apache Company are officially on standby 24/7, Pittman said.

"They know what they need to do, but being on standby, ready to go, that kind of gives them the excitement. We could get called upon to do anything; anything the nation calls us to do ... that's just part of the excitement," Pittman said.

Page last updated Tue October 8th, 2013 at 00:00