By Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie WidemondAugust 2, 2017
Fort Bragg, North Carolina -- The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard, ended a brigade warfighter exercise conducted at the Fort Bragg Mission Training Complex. The exercise assessed the brigade's staff integration processes on a simulated battlefield from planning to execution, using mission command. Mission command allows the brigade commander to issue orders to battalion commanders who in turn carry out orders in a synchronized manner.
"It's very important that maneuver knows what fires is doing and fires knows what the engineer is doing, so we know each other on the battlefield," said Sgt. 1st Class Anttwain Dobbins, movement and maneuver non-commissioned officer in charge, Combined Arms Center.
The CAC sent a team of observer/trainers to guide the brigade staff during the warfighter exercise. Located in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the center provides commanders the opportunity to train on mission command in simulated exercises.
This exercise was conducted on behalf of Maj. Gen. Charles Whittington, First Army deputy commanding general for operations, by the Mission Command Training Program, also out of Fort Leavenworth.
188th Combined Arms Training Brigade provided observer-coach/trainer support to the battalions.
"In order for brigade to do their job, the battalions have to feed them information," said Sgt. 1st Class Israel Walker, 1-306th Infantry Regiment OC/T.
That flow of information involved the synchronization of warfighting functions -- mission command, intelligence, movement and maneuver, sustainment, fires and protection.
For a brigade warfighter, the planning, synchronization, and execution occurred inside the tactical operations center (TOC).
Sergeant 1st Class Michael Strawn, 3-395th Armor Regiment OC/T, provided support to the 252nd Armored Regiment's battle captain NCO. Strawn completed the battle staff course in 2016, and pulled from that resource to provide feedback.
"I wanted to ensure that there was an understanding of the role of the TOC and the six functions of TOC operations," said Strawn. The TOC is the central dissemination hub and the information that flows from staff manning the TOC enables him to make decisions critical to troops on the battlefield.
"Information will come from the intel channels to the fires warfighting function protection and also movement and maneuver, so the staff can't stovepipe information," said Capt. Deshon Sims, air defense artillery OC/T, 1-346th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Sims served as an augmentee to the MCTP.
"It's really critical that everybody has an understanding of what everyone is doing in space and time in conjunction with airspace.
This warfighter exercise was a multi-component, multi-state, unified effort with Air Force personnel providing air support to the troops on the ground. The 30th ABCT includes units from West Virginia and North Carolina. OC/Ts from Kansas and Georgia advised, assisted, and trained the Guardsmen as they went from the planning phase of the exercise to the execution phase.
"With the ABCT, you have lot of moving pieces; tanks, aviation, all these different areas of expertise coming together, so we in the 188th have to pool our brigade resources in order to support them," said Sims.
The 188th is a brigade of observer-coach trainers, from across eleven battalions - six active duty and five Reserve - who advise, assist and mentor National Guard and Reserve soldiers and command teams across the southeastern United States. They partnered with units throughout the year, providing support to inactive duty weekends for guard Soldiers, and battle drill assembly weekends for reservists.