Workhorse Soldiers from the 603rd Avn., Support Bn., 3rd CAB, carry a simulated casualty away from a UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopter, Feb. 29 , during a mass casualty exercise as a part of "Workhorse Focus," a battalion level field training exercise, at Fort Stewart.

FORT STEWART, Ga. - Soldiers from the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, wrapped up a two-week field training exercise, "Workhorse Focus," Feb. 29, at Fort Stewart, with a force-on-force event, a mass casualty exercise, and a simulated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack.

"It was the first time the 603rd had undertaken a battalion level exercise in at least six years," said Lt. Col. Andrew Gignilliat, commander of the 603rd ASB.

Lieutenant Colonel Gignilliat said he first conceived the idea for "Workhorse Focus," after an evaluation in June 2011.

"I wanted to focus on warrior skills, company and battalion level tasks, and general field craft," Lt. Col. Gignilliat said.

"We removed senior level noncommissioned officers from the training scenarios in order to force the junior NCO's into immediate leadership roles," he said. "We wanted to put the onus on that sergeant to re-establish the standard, that overall baseline."Captain Dustin Healey, the battalion operations officer, said he helped coordinate the different training events for "Workhorse Focus."

"We had small arms ranges -- M16 and M9 -- gas chambers, a land navigation course, and entry control point training," said Capt. Hailey. "We had the opportunity to do some great Forward Army Refueling and Rearmament Training, which is essential to our field mission. And beyond that, everything required to run a brigade support battalion."

Healey said that in coordinating the "Workhorse Focus," seven other battalions contributed manpower and resources, including every battalion in the Falcon Brigade. The 260th Quartermaster Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, also participated, providing a shower, laundry and clothing repair team as well as a 15-member "opposing forces" team.

After all was said and done, Lt. Col. Andrew Gignilliat said he was pleased with the battalion's efforts.

"We had an exceptional amount of quality training, no injuries, and no lost equipment," Lt. Col. Gignilliat. "Workhorse Soldiers were outstanding, above and beyond the standard."

Page last updated Thu March 15th, 2012 at 11:11