2nd Brigade Combat Team completes exercise at National Training Center
October 31, 2012
FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- The 2nd Brigade Combat Team conducted its mission readiness exercise for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan during September and October at the National Training Center here.
Soldiers of 2nd BCT have been tasked to deploy as a Security Forces Assistance Brigade that will advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces. The reorganization of the brigade to meet that requirement was conducted over months before attending NTC Rotation 13-01.
"SFAB is the natural evolution from battlespace owner to ANSF in the lead and then full Afghan control," said Col. Dennis S. Sullivan, 2nd BCT commander.
Rotation 13-01 was one of the largest that the NTC has ever had to support, according to the operations group at NTC. The 2nd BCT was joined by Task Force Phoenix from Fort Drum and other supporting elements from around the Army, as well as Security Force Assistance Teams from the 29th and 56th Infantry Brigades from Hawaii and Texas, who also were conducting their MRX.
Supporting the brigade and so many SFATs across the training area at NTC was a daunting task for the observer controller -- trainers at NTC, who had to bring in augmentee OC-Ts to provide full coverage of all the moving pieces.
"We have a daily meeting with the chief to make sure we didn't break the system," said Maj. Ray McCullough, an OC-T at NTC.
The staff of 2nd BCT deployed to Fort Irwin a week in advance to conduct the Leader Training Program, where they rehearsed mission analysis and orders production before the brigade's arrival.
Once the brigade was mustered at Fort Irwin, Sullivan gave guidance for the priorities of training: Validate our systems, experience no serious injury or loss of equipment, and get better every day.
The training portion of the deployment was broken into two segments: 12 days of situational training exercises, where SFATs and platoons were given a mission to execute under certain conditions for a period of about 48 hours, and six days of force on force. During the force-on-force portion, the entire training area was considered to be Afghanistan and the opposing forces from NTC were free to attack the training forces at will.
When all of the training was complete, the OC-Ts provided the units with after action reviews in which they highlighted areas that they believe the units should sustain what they are doing and areas they think could use improvement.
"With this kind of formation, it's important to determine what are necessities and what are 'nice-ities,'" Lt. Col. Robert Ryan, deputy commander for 2nd BCT, said at the end of the rotation. "We need to focus on the necessities."