By Staff Sgt. Armando LimonApril 11, 2018
FORT POLK, Louisiana - Through incessant rains and thick Louisiana mud, the Broncos have successfully finished their rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center, here.
More than 3,000 Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, "Bronco," 25th Infantry Division, spent last month completing a demanding series of exercises that tested each of its battalions to the fullest.
"The Bronco Brigade's goals during JRTC were to reinforce fundamentals of what an infantry BCT should be: shoot, move, communicate while challenging and testing ourselves against world class opposing forces and a BCT live-fire exercise," said Col. Robert Ryan, commander, 3BCT.
"Key difficulties were weather," Ryan said. "Rain (poured) throughout most of the deployment, which did not allow us to fully integrate Air-Ground Integration (AGI). Balancing the Joint Forcible Entry mission right into the offensive and then a defense while in contact was a great test for all leadership at all levels."
The commander believes that cohesion was the biggest takeaway the Bronco Brigade received from JRTC.
"Units came together, built teams of teams and accomplished the mission. Learning from the observer-controller coaches allowed leaders to think through problems, outload with a sounding board and have a professional dialogue with senior noncommissioned officers and officers that have multiple experiences," he explained.
As for Bronco Brigade's senior enlisted adviser, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Spear saw the brigade coming together as one fighting unit.
"The training further strengthened our bond as brothers and sisters in arms and allowed the brigade uninterrupted time to focus on both individual and collective competencies to prepare for our wartime mission," Spear said. "The Bronco Brigade stands ready to answer the call at any time at any place."
During JRTC, the brigade employed unorthodox measures to get the upper hand against OPFOR.
"The Cyber Electronic Magnetic Activity (CEMA) cell provided synchronization of effects across the spectrum," said Capt. Gregory Rich, CEMA, S-7, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3BCT. "Based on the commander's guidance and (priority intelligence requirements), we leverage a variety of assets ranging from Electronic Warfare to Information Operations to ensure that he has the ability to make informed decisions."
The CEMA cell had to overcome a number of difficulties because JRTC does not have a cyber domain fully in place, Rich said.
"Difficulties faced were overcome by sticking to the basics," he said. "For example, (Defense Advanced GPS Receivers) were encrypted allowing units experiencing jamming to locate the source and provide targeting."
In the end, it was the hard work and grit of Bronco Soldiers, such as Spc. Josh Rowe, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3BCT, who were in the thick of it sharing their experience with their fellow infantrymen.
"This year at JRTC was really different for me," Rowe said. "I got a chance to see both aspects on both sides, such as security and assaulting through the objective. We had some new Soldiers come out with us - brand new guys in the Army and having to see those guys' reaction to their first field problem, which is JRTC."
Rowe also said he had a chance to meet Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey while out in the field.
"One thing that stood out in JRTC was, we found out that one of our platoons had 10 Soldiers defeat three tanks," he said, "so that was pretty impressive."