By 2nd Lt. Angela DiMattiaJune 23, 2018
FORT CARSON, Colorado -- Since the inception of the Army in 1775, Soldiers have been expected to deploy in defense of the nation at a moment's notice.
In light of this enduring expectation, just weeks prior to the Army's 243rd birthday, the Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team "Warhorse," 4th Infantry Division, tested their readiness systems in an emergency deployment readiness exercise designed to validate that capability.
"It has taken cross coordination across the division and installation to enable the readiness for this event," said Capt. Travis Anderson, assistant operations officer in charge of planning the exercise, 2nd IBCT. "This exercise is testing our ability to communicate laterally by bringing together a team that doesn't normally work together to support and test our unit's ability to deploy anywhere in the world."
Keeping the training as realistic as possible, it was executed in progressive phases from notification of the Soldiers, packing, movement to the airport, loading equipment onto an aircraft, flying to a training area on Fort Carson to execute a rapid landing and unloading of equipment before the aircraft disembarked.
Planning the exercise was just the first step, but the execution of the large-scale event was in the hands of the NCOs in the brigade, integrating support from Air Force personnel and Department of Defense civilian assets.
"The lethality of the Army comes from its enlisted leaders," said Sgt. Maj. Paul Rick, operations NCO in charge.
He underscored the importance NCOs play in a mission such as this, as a result of the authority they have to make decisions.
"This allows for plans to be effectively executed with adaptive thinking and disciplined initiative the NCO Corps provides on and off the battlefield," Rick said.
For about a month prior to the exercise, enlisted leaders ensured Soldiers' bags were packed, medical screenings were complete and vehicles were inspected. They also readied equipment to be loaded and tested unit systems such as administrative and logistical matters for a potential real-world crisis.
While 2nd IBCT Soldiers met their training objectives, the Air Force personnel were able to meet theirs as well.
Once the equipment was properly palletized and tied down, Air Force personnel inspected it and instructed the Soldiers where to place the equipment for proper balance within the aircraft.
"It's a tough system, and so it's good to see young Soldiers practice preparing cargo for an aircraft," said Air Force Capt. Keri Morris, air mobility liaison officer, 621st Mission Support Operations Squadron. "This isn't something they normally do, and it has to be done right. It's a good eye opener for them, because all the prep work is the responsibility of the user."
Once the Soldiers and equipment were onboard the aircraft, the Air Force kicked into high gear.
"The Air Force has training objectives for high pressure, dirt landing strips," Morris said. "The landing strip for this particular exercise is short and narrow.
This is more similar to the environmental factors we will see while deployed in various places around the world, especially when they get to deliver real cargo from 2nd IBCT."
As the dust kicked up and the aircraft took off from the training area after dropping off its cargo and personnel, the collaboration of two sister services yielded a successful training event for both.