Colonel Roger Cloutier, commander of 1HBCT, briefs the brigade leadership on what they are about to see and the reasons behind the training, prior to the execution of the fires coordination exercise. The exercise was a joint operation between 1HBCT and the Air Force.

<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </B>The leaders of the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division gathered at observation point 1 in Fort Stewart's training area, June 25 to observe the brigade's first fires coordination exercise since its return from Iraq last year. The exercise was a combined effort by 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st HBCT; 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st HBCT; 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd ID; and the Air Force.

The exercise started with a briefing from the brigade's senior leadership and a sand table walk-through of how everything was supposed to happen.

The purpose of the exercise was to teach the leaders of the brigade what capabilities they have in a combat zone.

"We put on a fires coordination exercise for leaders' professional development," said Maj. Rob Santamaria, the brigade fires support officer for 1st HBCT. "It was designed to teach the leaders who have been involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom what fires bring to the battlefield in a high intensity conflict."

The massive display of fire power was the result of three months of planning by the brigade and other participating units. Everything had to be coordinated and approved to make sure that all applicable laws and safety regulations were followed.

"We want to make sure that we put on a safe exercise," Maj. Santamaria said. "Even in combat we make sure we are safe."

After multiple rounds of artillery and mortar fire, a barrage of machine gun fire and Hellfire rockets from Apache attack helicopters and multiple 500 lb. bombs being dropped by a B-52 Stratofortress, the exercise was considered a great success.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16