New York National Guard leaders to sharpen war-planning skills

By Col. Richard GoldenbergApril 12, 2016

27th IBCT Trains at Fort Druom
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Two hundred New York Army National Guard leaders and Soldiers from units across the state head to Fort Polk, Louisiana today for a leader training program to prepare them for the challenges of a large-scale training exercise this summer.

Forty members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters in Syracuse, join 200 other representatives from the brigades units across New York along with elements from Massachusetts, Utah, and Michigan which will participate in training at the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center in July.

The goal of the training this week is staff planning and order development, giving the brigade leadership its first sense of the exercise scenario and the opportunity to plan for the fight.

The staff training is supported by coaches, who observe the staff functions, explained Lt. Col. Sean Flynn, the 27th Brigade Executive Officer. They mentor key leaders and offer insight to improve decision-making and adopt lessons learned from past combat or training center events.

"All of these guys have tremendous experience as former colonels or general officers," Flynn said. "Most have commanded brigades before and nearly all have recent and current information to share."

The training rotation this summer challenges Army and Army National Guard brigades with the demands of force-on-force combat training.

The leader training for the brigade brings together leaders from across the task force that will assemble in full this summer, with more than 5,000 Soldiers.

Along with the brigade headquarters, some nine battalions and smaller support elements are represented in the training this week.

These include the New York Army National Guard's:

- 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry from New York City;

- 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry based in Utica;

- 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry from Niagara Falls;

- 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery from Jamaica, Queens;

- 427th Brigade Support Battalion from Syracuse;

- 27th Brigade Special Troops Battalion from Buffalo;

- and the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade based in Latham.

Other supporting elements include:

- the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry from Massachusetts;

- the Utah Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 211th Attack Reconnaissance Aviation Battalion;

- an infantry platoon from the 256th Infantry Brigade of the Louisiana Army National Guard;

- and the 406th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion from the U.S. Army Reserve in Michigan.

The order development and planning process this week at Fort Polk creates the brigade plan of attack, outlining objectives for all of the supporting units and introduce the combat scenario to troops, using a fictional scenario.

The brigade fight at the JRTC this summer is far from fictional, however.

All Soldiers and equipment will utilize an integrated laser engagement system aligned to all weapon systems, to allow both friendly and enemy forces to engage each other safely and introduce realism on the battlefield.

Battlefield losses, casualties and resupply are all exercised in real time for troops, creating demands for combat leader decisions, tactical planning, and management of both personnel and logistics.

The brigade will deploy with all its forces for the training exercise in July.

While at Fort Polk, leaders will have an opportunity for an aerial reconnaissance of the summer battlefield, giving Soldiers a better appreciation of the terrain and conditions for the exercise.

Other members of the 27th Brigade are embedded with the observer/coaches of the current JRTC rotation, gathering valuable lessons from units undergoing training now.

The leader development training runs from April 12-19, culminating with a combined arms rehearsal, allowing leaders to brief back Col. Joseph Biehler, the 27th Infantry Brigade Commander, with their understanding of the plan for the summer exercise.

The Soldiers will then return to their individual units and refine their plans and prepare their combat orders during unit weekend training in May and June.

"Just the information sharing that takes place is a great benefit," Flynn explained. "The informal discussion between commanders and their mentors during the order development improves our planning process."

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