TF Bragg's assault command post validates readiness capability during JOAX
September 21, 2011
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FORT BRAGG, N.C., Sept. 21, 2011 -- Task Force Bragg's Assault Command Post took part in a Joint Operational Access Exercise near Sicily Drop Zone Sept. 11-12. While the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade conducted a night mass tactical airborne insertion and seized the airfield -- simulating a forced entry operation into a hostile foreign country -- the ACP personnel battle tracked the entire operation, following the Joint Operational Access Exercise, or JOAX, from start to finish.
The Assault Command Post, or ACP, is comprised of about 40 service members from XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters, 82nd Sustainment Brigade, 16th Military Police Brigade, 20th Engineer Brigade, 44th Medical Brigade, and the Air Forces' 18th Air Support Operations Group and the 18th Weather Squadron. Formed about seven weeks ago, the ACP personnel have been training and preparing for the JOAX by conducting systems checks, communications training, military decision making process training, first aid, media relations and ACP operations training.
Using the JOAX to validate their preparedness and overall readiness capability, Task Force Bragg's ACP set up a tactical operations center and became fully operational in less than two hours. Long before the more than 1,100 paratroopers from the 3rd Brigade were airborne, the ACP was prepared and fully capable of monitoring all communications -- to include FM Radio, Tactical Satellite and Internet Relay Chat -- during the JOAX, both on the ground and in the air.
Spc. Don Donaldson was one of the military police Soldiers assigned to the ACP as part of its security element. By day, Donaldson is assigned to the 118th MP Company (Airborne), 503rd MP Battalion (Airborne), 16th MP Brigade. Depending on what cycle his company is on, he stays busy doing road patrols, weapons training, details and a multitude of other missions.
Donaldson said working for Task Force Bragg's ACP has given him a better perspective on how the planning processes work and how all the different key elements work together in order to pull off a large scale operation and training mission like a JOAX.
Some of things Donaldson said he trained on as part of the ACP included learning how to operate several different types of communications systems, courses of action planning, logistics tracking, and briefings and presentations.
"Before we started this training, I had never heard of an ACP," Donaldson said, "but I'm glad I had a chance to do this. It's given me a broader perspective on how things work at the command level. When we go back to our unit, we can teach other MPs what we learned here."
"It's my first time being a part of a Corps ACP," said Staff Sgt. Dane Sebring, a radio transmitter operator who jumped his first radio a couple weeks earlier during an airborne training mission as part of Task Force Bragg's ACP operations. He said he understands the importance of a good communications plan and package.
"You know what they teach you in basic training -- shoot, move and communicate," said Sebring. "If you can't talk amongst yourselves or track what is going on outside your contingent, you can't be expected to get your plan or platform off the ground."
This team rapidly trained and executed individual through collective task skills needed to make a functional ACP that can provide anticipatory and reactive support, said Lt. Col. Robert Neitzel, the ACP chief of operations.
"The troopers assigned to support the establishment of the ACP demonstrated the essence of what makes our Soldiers special," Neitzel said. "I am very proud of their hard work and dedication."