Camp Casey, South Korea- Soldiers from 210th Field Artillery Brigade participated in 'Digital Thunder', an exercise designed to simulate wartime mobility and enhance readiness, July 11-15, at the Warrior Mission Planning & Rehearsal Complex on Camp Casey.
"It is really hard to put all the vehicles on the road here because of the traffic and there are numerous vehicles to move," said Maj. Aaron Kearney, a Garrettsville, Ohio native and Brigade Aviation Officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th FA Bde, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division. "So in a simulator, it gives the Soldiers an opportunity to practice driving in a convoy."
"It is vital that we use these systems because if Soldiers did not utilize the simulation, they would never have the opportunity to get 30 or 40 trucks in a convoy," added Kearney.
According to Kearney, the training was conducted in three phases. For the first two days Soldiers practiced how to get in and out of the Ammunition Holding Areas, load up all the ammunition, and get to their staging areas on Camp Casey. On the third day, leaders conducted a 'Rehearsal of Concept' drill in which they briefed their maneuver plans for the exercise test phase. During the last two days Soldiers put everything they practiced into action and were tested using the simulators.
Simulating the movement was an effective tool for Soldiers to enhance readiness. With the simulators, Soldiers avoided the risks of driving in a live convoy and could do training multiple times.
"This is a very simple method to be able to test out procedures that otherwise have to be conducted with a lot of other sustainment elements," said Capt. Joseph G. Jankovich, a Norfolk, Virginia native assigned as a battery commander of HHB, 3rd Battalion 13th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th FA Bde., 2nd Inf. Div.
Soldiers faced difficulties throughout the training such as overseeing the timing and sequencing of all vehicles and accurately deciding who moves when.
"There were some difficulties, but in the simulators we were able to put all the vehicles out there, see those challenges and then identify how to fix the problem," said Kearney. "Then we could come up with plans on how to sequence people in and out of the AHAs and properly move all the vehicles at the brigade level," said Kearney.
Through Digital Thunder, Soldiers were able to practice their wartime staging movements and internal procedures at the brigade level, which helped successfully find holes in plans, fix them and enhance readiness.
"What Soldiers have to do now is to continue to find where we have deficiencies or gaps in our plan and go after those," said Kearney. "It has to start at the battery level. The battery commanders have to identify their shortcomings or shortfalls right now and continue to train their Soldiers in those whether it is in a simulation or just basic Soldiers task skills."