By Maj. Al Phillips, 27th Infantry Brigade Combat TeamMarch 31, 2017
NEAR DONGDUCHEON, SOUTH KOREA -- It's calm in the morning at Camp Casey and Camp Red Cloud, military installations 15 miles south of the Demilitarized Military Zone that divides North and South Korea.
But inside simulation centers at both bases, things were not so calm for 40 Soldiers of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Inside the simulation centers, the New York Soldiers were rehearsing for war.
The 27th Brigade Soldiers deployed here in March as part of the annual command post exercise known as Key Resolve. The wargame made 27th Brigade and battalion staff officers and NCOs part of the the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division.
Key Resolve is held in conjunction with Foal Eagle, a field training exercise for U.S. and Korean forces.
The command post exercise scenario starts with building friction between the North Korean regime, South Korea and the international community. Military staffs in Key Resolve rehearsed the deployment, reception, staging and integration of allied military troops in support of U.S. Forces Korea alongside their Republic of Korea armed forces partners.
The ability to deploy and rapidly integrate with U.S. and Korean forces was a huge success, according to the command post element commander, Lt. Col. Jamey Barcomb from the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, known as Task Force Hunter.
"Key Resolve was also an excellent opportunity for the Hunter Soldiers to learn firsthand about the rich history and culture of Korea," Barcomb said.
"I was impressed with the professionalism of both the 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers and our Republic of Korea (ROK) Army partners and will leave the peninsula with a greater appreciation for the capabilities and commitment of the combined division to this enduring security mission," he said.
Participation in Key Resolve demonstrates the readiness and capability of the 27th Infantry Brigade to project power overseas, Barcomb explained.
From the beginning, Barcomb told his Soldiers that they were deployed and training for two main reasons: they were invited guests and having completed the Joint readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana in 2016, they were considered ready to serve anywhere the Army needed them.
This training also highlights the importance of the Army National Guard as part of the Total Army, with Guardsmen serving alongside active duty counterparts from the 2nd Division and the Republic of Korea Army counterparts, Barcomb said.
The brigade role-played a full infantry brigade staff for battlefield reporting, command and control, and information management.
"Seeing how the ROK Soldiers operate with 2nd Infantry Division and then our element integrating in that culture, weighing limitations and different communication styles other than verbal presented not only the sense of the conflict at hand but the tactical approach," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Wilcox, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
Key Resolve has been an annual training exercise between the two nations since 2008. Similar events were held for decades prior to Key Resolve to strengthen the partnership between the two military forces.
"It was excellent having members of the New York Army National Guard here to plan and refine how to operate on the battlefield to exploit the enemy and ultimately achieve victory," said Maj. Seonghoon Hwang, a Korean army operations planner.