Under First Army's watchful eye, Indiana's 38th Infantry Division went to war in Kansas last week as the first National Guard division to fight in the newest transformed modular configuration under the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) program.
Leading the overall fight was First Army commander, Lt. Gen. Russel HonorAfA, dual-hatted as Exercise Director and corps commander. First Army has training readiness oversight for Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve units throughout the country.
"All Warfighters are designed to stress the division's command and control and forces the division to be creative in developing solutions," said HonorAfA. "The battle command training program gives us the opportunity to train the staff without putting a twenty thousand man division on the ground."
Maj.Gen. Richard Moorehead, 38th division commander led more than 1,400 of his Soldiers as they plugged their laptops into a digital combat zone run by simulation experts of the Battle Command Training Center (BCTC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Joining the simulated fight, was Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Division, commanded by Brig. Gen. Jerry G. Beck and 226 of his Soldiers. Beck as the corps deputy commanding general said, "Our role is to serve as the corps command element for the 38th Division in the exercise." In all, more than 2100 participants including exercise observer-controller trainers were part of the Warfighter experience.
The 38th's 18-month preparation for the Warfighter exercise included a series of collaborative train-ups using the National Guard's Distributed Battle Simulation Program and the U.S. Army Reserve's Battle Command Training Divisions, overseen by First Army.
According to Moorehead, the 38th's commander, "Fort Leavenworth's battle command training program offers me a way to exercise my division's war fighting functions using Army decision making processes under stressful war-time conditions. This environment allows me to see if decisions are working and how to modify them if they are not."
"Warfighter is not a 'feel good' exercise", said HonorAfA. "This is designed to show weaknesses in your command and control system and it provides the commander something to go back and work on in terms of operating procedures and adaptations."
"General Moorehead and his staff have been to Afghanistan and you might argue that they know their business, but this is a different fight. The modular division is a big organization and this is fighting a very different enemy. It's almost as if we've gone from playing football to playing soccer," said HonorAfA. "Warfighting is a thinking man's sport," said HonorAfA, "not a sport in which in coming in second is okay."
Since 9-11, First Army has mobilized and trained more than 389,332 Reserve Component Soldiers for the Global War on Terror.