FORT DRUM, N.Y. (July 2, 2015) -- New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. Kevin Ferreira maneuvered his computer-generated UH-60 helicopter above the pixelated terrain below.Ferreira, a member of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade, spoke through a microphone attached to a virtual reality headset. He and members of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade had a mission to execute: insert two long-range surveillance teams into enemy territory.The simulation was part of a multi-echelon integrated brigade training exercise, or MIBT, which brought together more than 4,500 active and Reserve Soldiers to Fort Drum, June 13-26.The MIBT training exercise simulated numerous wartime situations. Each unit, from the level of a helicopter crew up to a battalion or a division, is tested on its ability to adapt and respond to an opposing force.Soldiers, from the 42nd Infantry Division, were responsible for planning and monitoring missions involving the Vermont Army National Guard's 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, or IBCT, and the Virginia Army National Guard's 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.Observer-coach/trainers, from the 188th Infantry Brigade and the 205th Infantry Brigade, advised and mentored units on proper Army doctrine. Meanwhile, three companies, from 10th Mountain Division (LI), served as an opposing force.This exercise, the first of its kind, integrates active Army and National Guard units in an effort to ensure Soldiers, Reservists and Guardsmen are all trained to work together.During the exercise, Soldiers, of the 42nd Division Headquarters, would be given a mission and a scenario at the division level. The scenarios and emergencies given to them were fictitious, but Soldiers reacted to them as they would in real life. They would then take information about the scenario and develop instructions for the brigades underneath them to act."Through the exercise, we tested our ability to control and maneuver brigades," said Col. John Andonie, 42nd Division operations officer. "That's what we do, as the division HQ [headquarters]. Our weapon is not a rifle; it's our ability to manipulate information and provide it to the commanding general so he can make decision on how to win the battle."The exercise involved two phases. In the first phase, the 42nd Division Headquarters conducted simulated operations, such as Ferreira's helicopter raid. In the second, the 42nd Division Headquarters planned and tracked a live attack by the 86th IBCT.The MIBT offers training similar to that done at the Joint Readiness Training Center on Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California. Because there are limited opportunities to train at these centers each year, the MIBT is intended to provide a similar training to more units than before.The 42nd Division Headquarters had participated in the warfighter exercise last year. Andonie said he was glad the unit could continue the training from the warfighter, at a lower cost to the unit."We got the same level of experience through this exercise, the same level of training for a warfighter on an annual training budget," Andonie said.Andonie emphasized the good teamwork between all the units. During an after-action review, graders and members of the observer-coach/trainer teams gave feedback and praise to the 42nd Infantry Division's efforts in commanding the exercise."To say that I'm impressed by this great Rainbow Division is an understatement," said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bailey, commander of First Army Division East.Maj. Michael Alfano, 42nd Division G3 chief of staff, said the training prepared the unit for any future operations."We're prepared," Alfano said. "If we are called, we would be able to command and control a division, one that is able to command live brigades. We can do the job that we're paid to do as a division headquarters."