CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - The Third Army team conducted an exercise at Camp Arifjan Oct. 16-19. The focus of the four-day mission was to ensure Third Army's ability to react to any possible situations within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

The Lucky Warrior exercise has been conducted periodically throughout the years to maintain readiness for contingency operations throughout the Middle East.

"This exercise brings the team together and poises them for a mission-setting focus to gather intelligence, assessments, data and holistic information that is shared as a team," said Sgt. Maj. William Hayes, Third Army aviation sergeant major and native of Memphis, Tenn.

The focus is geared toward training the command-post staff to be ready and effective if called.

"Lucky Warrior is an exercise designed to train the Third Army command post to conduct different contingency operations in our area of responsibility," said Col. Paul Humphreys, Third Army chief of future operations.

"These exercises ensure we are ready for real-world contingencies," Humphreys said. "The exercises we're going through right now identify tactics, techniques and procedures and battle drills that we could use in a real-world situation later on."

The Third Army team consists of more than Soldiers and has a joint-service structure.

"We have Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines," Humphreys said. "We also have Department of the Army Civilians. We also have contractors that are working with us."

Humphreys was pleased with the results of the exercise.

"It's going very well," he said. "There's a lot of hard learning going on. We're feeling our way through some things at the same time we're building some strong relationships within the staff and our supporting units, which will enable us to get better each day."

Exercises of this type aren't expected to run flawlessly. Team members are expected to make mistakes and learn from them.

"The mistakes we make today we are correcting and we're improving what we do so that we don't make the same mistakes again tomorrow," Humphreys said.

Third Army exercise leaders are also happy with their Soldiers performance.

"Our Soldiers did a great job ... I couldn't be prouder of them," said Maj. Tom Moran, the communications officer in charge for the contingency command outpost and native of Fairport, N.Y.

"We work together really well ... we were flexible to adapt to new changes," Moran said. "Everybody had a really good attitude putting up the tents and running cables, so I declare it a success."

Physically, the Lucky Warrior exercise has grown from being just a handful of tents in the desert to an intricate web of communications and operations cells linked together to form a first-class command post.

"I've been at Third Army for four years. I've been doing exercises for the last three," said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Crozier, a communications chief from Fairfield, Calif. "The command post has grown. It's changed from what we used to have. We've gone from just the deployable, expandable shelters, which we've moved into the tent complex here now."

Humphreys also expressed the significance of exercises like Lucky Warrior and just how relevant they are to real-world events.

"I went through a Lucky Strike exercise back in 2002 we used to prepare for Operation Iraqi Freedom. We went through it in November of 2002 and in March of 2003 we were actually conducting real-world operations based on the exercise we had done in November," Humphreys said.

So what is the status of Third Army's readiness'

"This command is ready to serve in this area for whatever the contingency might be," Humphreys said.

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