By Capt. Ivan S. Nunez (Fort Carson)September 12, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The year anniversary of the Army's newest civil affairs battalion activating at Fort Carson is Sept. 15.
The 440th Civil Affairs Battalion staff spent its first 10 months on the job recruiting qualified civil affairs and support officers, noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted Soldiers, and then training them on individual tasks.
"All of our senior NCOs have multiple deployments to all theaters of operations, which allows us the expertise to mentor, coach and develop our younger Soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Kostoulakos, battalion operations senior enlisted leader.
The "War Elephants" conducted its first official annual training event at Fort Carson July 13-26, focusing on military driver's training and licensing, combat lifesaver certification, weapons qualification and warrior tasks and battle drills.
The situational training event July 22-25 was the culminating event for annual training, as civil affairs teams were evaluated during kinetic lanes which tested their proficiency with reacting to an improvised explosive device, reacting to direct and indirect fire and conducting hospital and village assessments and key leader engagements.
"Our STX lanes were really fluid and able to offer a controlled, but challenging environment for our civil affairs teams," said Staff Sgt. Eric Guntermann, battalion personnel NCO.
The teams also received training on the use of interpreters, interacting with the local population and air and ground medevac. The 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) K-9 unit and Oregon National Guard Soldiers with the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, helped to make the training and STX lanes as realistic as possible.
"The air asset support was very efficient and effective," said 1st Lt. Jeremy Lake, battalion intelligence officer.
The inaugural annual training event provided 440th Civil Affairs Bn. leadership with a baseline to build upon through challenging and realistic training as it prepares for an upcoming deployment.
"Being a brand new unit, all the Soldiers jelled their experiences and knowledge to come together and accomplish the mission," said Lt. Col. Damone Garner, battalion commander. "We are now able to develop our (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) and (standard operating procedures) for future training and deployments."
The 440th Civil Affairs Bn. is part of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C. Although collocated on Fort Carson with the 4th Infantry Division, the War Elephants are geographically-aligned to U.S. Pacific Command and can be tasked to support any Army brigade as directed by U.S. Forces Command.