Training for war: The intelligence Soldier

By 1st Lt. Evan Fitzgerald, Regiment Support Squadron/11th Armored Cavaly RegimentOctober 24, 2014

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FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- At the Army's National Training Center here at Fort Irwin, military units from across the world come to train for war. Military intelligence soldiers like Spc. Brendan T. Gibson an all source intelligence analyst from Point Lookout, New York, help to ensure the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment provides realistic training for these units.

The training goal for each unit is deliberately designed to match their mission. For some, the counter-insurgency fight is essential, while for others the tank-on-tank battles take precedence. Regardless of which type of fight occurs, all units will face the 11th ACR, who hold the distinction of being the Army's opposing force, trained and ready at all times to challenge the training units.

Gibson is trained to providing on-time and on-target intelligence during each of the 10 brigade-level training exercises that occur here each year. As a member of the Regimental Support Squadron of the 11th ACR, Gibson is responsible for determining how the OPFOR's weapon systems can best defeat the enemy and how to provide protection to logistics convoys.

"I provide the RSS with pertinent intelligence to aid the OPFOR fight against U.S. forces," said Gibson. "Due to changing threats, the battlefield is always evolving."

Changes have played a prominent role in Gibson's life; as a graduate from Yale University, Gibson took a job working as an inter-dealer broker after earning his undergraduate degree. However, the call to serve his nation proved to be strong, and eventually he made the transition from civilian to Army life.

"I was getting old and I thought I wasn't going to get another chance to serve," said Gibson. "It would be something I would regret if I didn't do it."

For Gibson, service in the Army tests his practical knowledge in ways that academia and the finance world didn't. Progressing through the non-commissioned officer ranks requires leadership training, starting with the Warrior Leaders Course, which Gibson is soon to attend. WLC helps junior enlisted soldiers to refine their skills and ability to manage other soldiers, getting them ready for service as an NCO.

"The training the Army provides helps you clear mental blocks," said Gibson. "The Army empowers you by giving tasks you are not familiar with and makes you do them anyway, learning on the fly."

For the intelligence soldiers of the battlefield, ensuring information about the enemy is current and relevant helps the Blackhorse to successfully execute its mission. Each soldier contributes to the success of the 11th ACR mission and for Gibson, seeing that his input brings value to the fight motivates him to give his best every day.