Brigade conducts annual evaluation with Alaska battalion
June 3, 2014
FORT GREELY, Alaska -- A small team of Soldiers from the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) performed an External Evaluation, assessing select mission essential and collective tasks of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion (GMD) in conjunction with a large-scale exercise May 12-16.
During the exercise, brigade observer-controller/trainers executed a myriad of scripted injects to stimulate battle-drills, and assess collective training proficiency. The brigade also worked closely with the Missile Defense Agency and Fort Greely garrison on a couple of large-scale injects affecting those agencies as well.
"Training exercises of this nature on the Missile Defense Complex are significant as they familiarize emergency responders with the area and its procedures. It also allows them to practice their techniques and purchase the proper equipment to respond to such incidents," said Nickole Porter, a contracted System Safety specialist for the Missile Defense Agency.
The largest of these joint injects included an extraction of an injured person inside one of the underground Silo Interface Vaults on Fort Greely's Missile Defense Complex. During this inject, Soldiers of A Company, 49th Military Police and Fort Greely's Department of Emergency Services exercised emergency ingress procedures, medical, and extraction techniques.
"Supporting Soldiers of the 49th is our primary mission in DPTMS (Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security). Coordination between the garrison and all of the units on the installation helps keep us all mission ready. We not only worked in direct support of the 49th's exercise, but also had initiated an installation wide shelter-in-place exercise to fulfill our own training/exercise requirements," said Helinka Papison, director for Fort Greely garrison DPTMS.
During the evaluation, 49th Missile Defense Bn. Military Police Soldiers also participated in an active shooter exercise at a prepared location simulating an incident on the Missile Defense Complex, utilizing modified weapons and Simunition rounds.
"The benefit of using a facility that the Soldiers are not familiar with, as well as Simunition rounds, adds to the realism of any exercise. Active shooter scenarios rely heavily on the rules of engagement and escalation of force, but the main focus is on eliminating the active shooter. With that mindset, a Soldier still has to be aware of non-combatant individuals who may be involved. This keeps the Soldiers alert and ready to make the decision to return fire or not," said Capt. Michael Long, commander, A Co. Military Police.
Although some evaluations were conducted on individual level tasks such as medical and communication Army Warrior Tasks during the active shooter scenarios, these were rolled-up as a general assessment and briefed to battalion and battery/company leadership as to the level of proficiency observed.
"Active shooter scenarios are an all-encompassing battle drill. Soldiers are pushed physically during the sweep and disrupt portion, but also mentally during the intelligence gathering and triage portion that has to be given to non-combatants and team members once the threat is neutralized," added Long.
The brigade has conducted evaluations in various forms with the battalion for nearly a decade and have continually perfected their craft. Each year the coordination between the two units and other Fort Greely agencies continues to improve, allowing each of the represented groups to take their desired training evaluations to a higher level of fidelity.
"The evaluation was an unmitigated success at multiple levels. The 49th had a chance to work through numerous challenging injects that tested our ability to communicate and operate directly with garrison, MDA and within our own security forces," said LT. Col. David R. Laydon, S-3, 100th Missile Defense Bde., and overall exercise director. "This exercise significantly improved tactical and communication skills. We have truly become a more effective combined force.
"Of great benefit to the execution of the evaluation was the instance of 100th Brigade Soldiers, now with the Colorado Army National Guard, having previously served with the 49th Battalion, which heightens our understanding of the challenges and circumstances that the Alaska Army National Guard Soldiers operate under," added Laydon. "The mantra 'One Team, One Fight' is fully in effect for the Soldiers tasked to 'Defend the Homeland.'"