USAG-D, South Korea - Soldiers with the 25th Transportation Battalion, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Republic of Korea 5th Logistics Support Command, and 1st Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force kicked off a two week combined joint training event, Operation Spearhead Focus, September 12 at Camp Casey, Dongducheon, Korea.
"They started by training to survive in a CBRN contaminated environment by going through the gas chamber at Camp Casey," said Cpt. Alan Kerr, assistant intelligence officer with the battalion.
"Then they also learned how to load litters during an air Medical Evacuation scenario. These training events increased the survivability of American and Korean Soldiers and Marines to fight, survive, and win on the contaminated battlefield."
These two training events are the first in a crawl-walk-run training plan which will incorporate Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. To build on the training conducted early on in the exercise, Task Force personnel will train with Virtual Battle Simulators such as the Convoy Trainer and Call for Fire Trainer.
"These individual and crew skills will be integrated in a walk phase with the Situational Training Exercise," said Kerr. "In this lane, the Movement Control Teams will need to negotiate situations such as encountering an improvised explosive device, a crowd control scenario, which gives the crews the opportunity to learn of an upcoming CBRN attack, allowing them to don JSLIST prior to the attack."
"After the ambush which incorporates a CBRN attack and a decontamination lane, the MCTs will undergo a complex attack which will require the convoys to defend themselves, conduct a self-recovery, and then call in a MEDEVAC," continued Kerr.
"This exercise certainly benefited greatly from the Marines participation because they bring air assets with them, which are required to accomplish the task force's mission," said Capt. Sean Clough, assistant operations officer, also with the battalion, and originally from Saint Louis, Missouri.
Additionally, the 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division also participated in the training event.
"The 2nd ABCT wasn't originally part of the task force but, upon arriving at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, we both saw the opportunity for them to collaborate with the task force, as a supporting unit," said Clough. "They provided additional mortar support during the event, which enhanced the training."
"This training is giving our junior leaders much needed ground tactical leadership, which will help to get them prepared for future assignments," said Lt. Col. Patrick B. Almond, commander of the 25th Trans. Battalion. "The purpose of this exercise is to make sure that if we have to move up and down the roadways during a real-world mission, that we are ready to do so."
After being certified at the situational training lanes, the movement control teams will begin preparing for the run phase of Spearhead Focus by conducting crew gunnery certifications. This ensures that gun truck crews are prepared to safely and smoothly execute the culminating event.
The culminating training event was a combined joint convoy live fire exercise which incorporates the ROK Soldiers, U.S .Marines, and the U.S. Air Force. The Marines provided sniper and 81mm mortar support, as well as coordinated U.S. Army attack aviation assets (AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships), and the U.S. Air Force provided F-16 fighter jets, which simulated an informational leaflets drop around the operational area.
"I really like working with the various units out here," said Spc. Jorge Andrade, a transportation Management coordinator with the 665th Movement Control Team, Waegwan, Korea and a subordinate unit of the transportation battalion. "The Marines really helped me, especially with the whole aspect of how to use my assigned weapon. From proper breathing techniques to proven tactics when firing the M 2-49 machine gun."
This resulted in a truly combined joint training event which enhanced readiness, strengthens the U.S.-ROK alliance and increased interoperability, and prepared us to Fight Tonight!