By Staff Sgt. Lerone SimmonsFebruary 15, 2018
FORT CAMPBELL, KY -- With readiness being the life-blood of the U.S. Army's ability to fight and win our nation's wars, the Screaming Eagles participated in a multi-echelon, live and virtual training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-3, at Fort Campbell, Feb. 5 - 14.
While the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Headquarters, Division Artillery Brigade, Combat Aviation Brigade and Sustainment Brigade were the primary training units for the exercise, the division's remaining brigade combat teams also took part. In addition, the 101st Abn. Div. was augmented with additional intelligence, logistical and operational assets from the Louisville-based Main Command Post-Operational Detachment, Kentucky National Guard, as well as members of the Kansas City-based 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Missouri National Guard.
The Warfighter showcased all of these units' collective ability to conduct Unified Land Operations. It also allowed the division to highlight its core competency, air assault.
"Our success on the battlefield validated our methodology," said Maj. Gen. Andrew Poppas, 101st Abn. Div. (Air Assault) commander. "The Screaming Eagles' unique ability to conduct brigade-level air assault after brigade-level air assault presented the enemy with multiple dilemmas and overwhelmed his tactical capability and decision-making capacity, ultimately leading to his demise."
In addition, the exercise allowed for cross-division and upper-echelon synchronization with the 1st Infantry Division, who participated at Fort Riley, Kansas, and members of the XVIII Airborne Corps, who participated at Fort Campbell and served as the higher headquarters for the Screaming Eagles and Big Red One.
This battlefield success and the opportunity to learn and grow as a team was echoed repeatedly by the division's brigades.
"The Warfighter exercise has been a great training opportunity for my staff," said Col. Craig Alia, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Abn. Div. commander. "It's allowed us to take a closer look at the way in which we process information and exercise our systems to drive decision-making. By examining our processes, we're able to find the channels in which progress gets stymied and figure out a way to ensure that we are supporting the aviators in the air and the Soldiers on the ground."
Feelings shared by the 101st Abn. Div. Artillery who put their targeting, planning and synchronization expertise to the test while delivering precision fires to both the 101st Abn. Div. and 1st Inf. Div.
"The challenge of the exercise provided us with perspective and the opportunity to refine the way we plan and execute operations," said Col. Frank Stanco, Division Artillery, 101st Abn. Div. commander. "By integrating and synchronizing lethal and non-lethal enablers, we enabled two divisions and their respective brigade combat teams to successfully execute Unified Land Operations."
Col. Stanley Sliwinski, 101st Sustainment Bde., 101st Abn. Div. commander, said his brigade's success was demonstrated by the ability to provide an unremitting 'lifeline' to the force.
"We validated our ability to synchronize sustainment and protection warfighting functions within the division consolidation area," said Silwinski. "This success is due to the hard work from my staff and the tireless coordination with our supported units and division staff, as well as the never-fail attitude of our Screaming Eagles."
In addition to demonstrating air assault prowess, and precision fire and sustainment excellence, the Screaming Eagles demonstrated their mobility and agility by "jumping" their tactical operation centers throughout the Warfighter exercise. These tactical "jumps," which involve physical demands to rapidly relocate on the battlefield and avoid enemy detection, also require synchronization and concise planning efforts.
The aforementioned successes were also lauded by distinguished visitors, including Gen. Robert B. Abrams, U.S. Army Forces Command commander, who received a virtual battlefield update from Poppas, Feb. 9.
"The Screaming Eagles are proving that, despite multiple dilemmas and a complex, challenging enemy, they are the lethal and agile warriors we need," said Abrams. "Throughout the exercise, they demonstrated initiative, innovation, and incredible warfighting competence."
While here, Abrams also spoke with and recognized Soldiers who distinguished themselves during the training event, and met with the Mission Command Training Post staff from the U.S. Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, who provided the training units with insight and feedback throughout continual operations that matched current and emerging threats in a complex environment.
During the exercise's final after action review, Feb. 15, the World Class Opposition Forces commander noted that the 101st made it difficult for him to protect his forces, visualize the battlefield, and make decisions. Poppas also praised his leaders and staff during the review for the success of the division, emphasizing that ultimately Soldiers on the battlefield determine the outcome.
"We set the conditions for our Soldiers to win the fight," he said, adding, "If you want it done, and you want it done right, call the 101."