Staying Vigilant: Missile Defenders Work on Communication Skills During Exercise
November 14, 2012
FORT GREELY, Alaska - The 49th Missile Defense Battalion participated in their annual training with their higher brigade here Oct 24-29, 2012.
The Vigilant Shield exercise tests the battalion's ability to communicate during real-world crisis situations with the 100th Missile Defense Brigade in Colorado Springs Colo., and to respond to issues locally.
It also gave the battalion a chance to go through worst case scenarios and include active duty units from Fort Wainwright.
Maj. Anthony Mortrud, the battalion's training and operations officer worked in the white cell (control center) during the exercise observing the training while maintaining his normal S3 duties during the exercise.
Some goals Mortrud had for this VS12 was to reassess Mission Command, which is one of their mission essential tasks. During a previous exercise he said they were assessed as a 'P' which indicated the unit still needed work. This time they were making sure they got a 'T' which indicates that they are trained successfully.
To get to where they wanted to be, they had to practice.
"We have MSEL (master scenario events list) injects that we have been injecting into the company throughout the last 5 days, either through a patrol or at one of the static locations," said Mortrud. "We are looking to get some communication play from the element that is receiving the MSEL inject to the Security Control Center then to the Tactical Operation Center and to the battalion."
The information has to make it through all those channels clearly and quickly.
"There needs to be a timeliness in which that (information) comes in so the battalion can keep the 100th (Missile Defense Brigade) and SMDC updated on any real world thing that happens out on the site," said Mortrud. "We time them from when the MSEL is given to the player out in the field until the battalion TOC actually gets that piece of information."
The results that are recorded give the battalion's chain of command a clearer picture of the unit's readiness.
"We are showing improvement from our exercise in May," he said. We're on the right track.
Accuracy in reporting is a key element to the battalion being on the right track.
"I know what information went out to the player out in the field and then by the time it gets back to the battalion TOC, I can see what they got and how it was received" said Mortrud.
Added to this training this year was the element of having a force, comprised of Soldiers from Fort Wainwright, that came down to be a part of the exercise.
"They conducted a leaders recon", said Mortrud. "This force has never been up here to look at the ground, talk with us, and talk with garrison about how they'll actually be integrated into any defense plan."
"A big part of this exercise too was to build the ground work for the Joint Task Force Alaska Soldiers and their roles and responsibilities when and if they're needed here at Fort Greely", added Mortrud.
What would cause a need for more Soldiers here?
"It's based on threats", said Mortrud. "If there is an assessment made by a combined threat working group with the 49th and garrison that we may determine that we want to have that additional force just in case, the garrison commander can request that."
Overall, the Soldiers got to use this exercise to practice for any worst case scenarios that could happen to pose threat to the United States should they come about.
And it looks like with the job that the leaders are doing here in the 49th MDB, no threat will be too big for them to handle.