By Sgt. Rakeem Carter, 4th Cavalry Multi-Functional Training Brigade Public AffairsOctober 10, 2017
FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. -- Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers are participating in a "Warfighter" training exercise here this month.
The exercise, which is a computer-simulated war game, is being run by observer coach/trainers from Mission Command Training Program and First Army.
The scenario involves troops at Fort Indiantown Gap and at Fort Drum, New York, providing support and sustainment to 12,000 troops from three Army divisions in close combat with an adversary who had demonstrated aggression to a U.S. ally.
Among the units training is the Army Reserve's 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, headquartered in Orlando, Florida.
Brig. Gen. Deborah Kotulich, the commanding general of 143rd ESC, said the training is valuable for the unit, which is scheduled to deploy into theater next year.
"As a reserve force, we are not together for very long periods of time throughout a 365-day year," Kotulich said. "We have our monthly battle assemblies and our annual training. This exercise is really important because it's quality training to allow us to do our mission."
The exercise was an opportunity for 143rd ESC to practice key principles of mission command and become better prepared to accomplish its mission.
"We don't have the opportunity to do our mission every day like the active-component forces," Kotulich said. "The time that we get to do it and practice it is in these exercises. It's like basketball or any kind of sport where the only way to get better is just practice. That's what this exercise is able to do for us, and it's very robust."
The 143rd ESC is a training partner with 4th Cavalry Multi-Functional Training Brigade, First Army Division East.
"4th Cav has been a really valuable partner for us since I took command in July 2016," Kotulich said. "They've been able to watch us go through the preparation for this exercise and previous exercises and coach us as independent, objective subject matter experts and training partners."
Lt. Col. Anita Trepanier, the executive officer of 4th Cav MFTB and an OC/T assigned to cover 143rd ESC, described the partnership between the commands.
"As a partner unit with 143rd ESC, Col. Flint Patterson [commander of 4th Cav MFTB] works with Brig. Gen. Kotulich," Trepanier said. "The partnership identifies staff areas that need additional training during exercises.
"With the relationship they have built, 4th Cav MFTB has been able to coach and teach during training exercises to allow 143rd ESC staff to make those necessary changes in their own processes along with building their internal products."
Trepanier explained how the pre-existing partnership increased the value of the exercise as an OC/T covering the unit.
"We have an established relationship, and that relationship can be built on while you are coaching and teaching because you have a rapport with them," Trepanier said.
"The partnership has provided them key critical insights into their processes. Even though they are in the crawl phase right now, the staff they have is doing a great job working together and working though some of the bumps in the road."
Through the "Warfighter" exercise, the mentorship from OC/Ts and the partnership with 4th Cav MFTB, 143rd ESC Soldiers increase their ability to accomplish their mission and prepare for a deployment.
"All of those trainers have been wonderfully professional," Kotulich said. "They are clearly experts, and you can see that they are invested in helping us get better and function more efficiently, because they know we are getting ready to go out of the door next year to go into theater to do the mission that we're practicing at this exercise.
"I value that outside look and that outside perspective. I appreciate everything they have done and I appreciate their commitment to helping us train and become better every day."