MCTP prepares U.S. Army Pacific Command for larger role
August 31, 2011
FT. LEAVENWORTH, KS -- Operations Group Delta of the U.S. Army's Mission Command Training Program (MCTP) deployed to the Hawaiian island of O'ahu to support United States Army Pacific's (USARPAC) participation in exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian 11.
UFG 11 is an annual computer-assisted command post exercise involving more than 530,000 troops from the Republic of Korea, the United States and seven United Nations Command sending state nations. It takes part both on the Korean peninsula and at U.S. military headquarters in the Pacific and the United States.
Formerly known as the Battle Command Training Program, MCTP provides training for commanders and staffs so they can fight and win in a wide spectrum of environments. During this exercise, Operations Group Delta observed and trained USARPAC staff members to help them improve as they broke new ground in exercising their role as the Army Service Component Command and Main Command Post in support of Pacific Integration. Operations Group Delta is skilled at providing joint training to deploying organizations.
Col. Michael McGuire, Operations Group Delta Commander, noted that the observer/trainers did a great job teaching, coaching and mentoring the USARPAC staff in a challenging situation.
"This is the first time we have observed a unit working under the new FM 3-93 theater army construct," McGuire said. "We leveraged all of our collective experience, education and training to assist the USARPAC staff to identify and improve on their Title 10 theater army responsibilities. This is truly putting new doctrine to the test in a dynamic environment."
In addition to routine partnership at the staff level, Operations Group Delta team members conducted formal after action reviews with their counterparts at the end of each of the two training weeks. The reviews provided objective and detailed feedback on training observations seen throughout the exercise.
Maj. Gen. (retired) John Yingling served with MCTP in the role of Senior Mentor, a highly-experienced officer who provided unique perspectives. "The dedication to excellence during this exercise has been extraordinary," Yingling said. "The training value added by the close collaboration between USARPAC and MCTP has resulted in everybody getting better each and every day."
The USARPAC command group also recognized Operations Group Delta's efforts. Brig. Gen. promotable Gary Beard, USARPAC Deputy Commanding General Army Reserve said, "Sometimes it's better to understand the question than know the answer, and we appreciate MCTP assisting in helping us to better understand this."
Col. Lewis Setliff, USARPAC Chief of Staff said, "This was an excellent opportunity for a theater army to exercise itself for the first time in a realistic simulation. The value of MCTP was realized daily as we learned from their expertise to perform our two primary missions of functioning as an Army Service Component Command and employing the Theater Enabling Commands."
Such commands control important functions such as air and missile defense, medical support, sustainment operations and civil affairs. In the new modular army model, these commands may not be stationed in the theater or may not even be activated until needed. Exercises employing simulations provide an opportunity for theater-level staffs to practice command and control functions with these headquarters.
While in Hawaii, Delta took the opportunity to gain an appreciation for the unique history the area offers. Numerous team members visited the Pearl Harbor area, which includes the battleship USS Missouri and the emotionally moving USS Arizona Memorial. Touring the USS Missouri, members of the team were able to view gun-turrets, crew quarters, dining facilities and the location where the Japanese signed the surrender terms which marked the end of World War II.
"We encourage our members to get in touch with history at locations we deploy to," said Lt. Col. Dean Somers of Operations Group Delta. "An added benefit of this exercise is the rare opportunity to visit a well-known and very meaningful landmark. At Pearl Harbor you can see both the beginning and the end of our involvement in WWII."
MCTP is part of the Training and Doctrine Command's Combined Arms Center-Training, which delivers training programs, products and services to leaders and units in support of Army readiness. Wherever Army training occurs, the Combined Arms Center-Training helps make it happen. To learn more about the Mission Command Training Program and CAC-T, visit http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cac-t/, www.facebook.com/usacactraining or www.twitter.com/usacactraining.