By Staff Sgt. Paige BehringerDecember 7, 2018
FORT DRUM, New York - - Since late October the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division has been split into several elements with separate and distinct mission sets.
All deployed Soldiers supporting the forward command post in Kosovo and Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan make up the Commando brigade's "Task Force Courage." Back at Fort Drum, New York, "Task Force Honor" consists of all rear detachment Soldiers, and nestled within are the brigade's remaining maneuver and reconnaissance battalions as "Task Force Hale."
The two main task forces bifurcated 2BCT in an almost even split, and although TF Honor remained at Fort Drum, these Commandos are staying engaged and strengthening 10th MTN readiness as a whole.
"We're here to support the forward deployed Commandos, but to keep us engaged is to keep us ready now to fight tonight, and to continue to fight in the future," said Maj. Matt Stockton, TF Honor operations officer.
For the past two weeks TF Honor Commandos have facilitated 1st Brigade Combat Team's training as the oppositional force during Mountain Peak 19-01.
The division level exercise combined elements from every brigade and the 10th MTN headquarters to support 1BCT ahead of their upcoming training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center, in Fort Polk, Louisiana.
"It's critical that as part of the division we continue to support our sister brigades, and in this case it's 1BCT," said Lt. Col. James Beaulieu, commander of 41st Engineer Battalion. "(We are) enabling their ability to train in preparation for their upcoming JRTC rotation and creating a realistic enemy that forces 1BCT to not only test their systems but also be presented with tactical problems that they have to work through and develop solutions for."
Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team operated as observer, coach/trainers as 2BCT created training experiences to stimulate 1BCT and test its capabilities.
"Normally in the field the OPFOR, the command and control element, would be one of the infantry battalions who are used to doing that fight," Stockton said. "In this unique experience we have three battalion headquarters - we have a fires, sustainment and an engineer battalion headquarters - so (2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment) which (is) usually in a support role, (is) now front and center fighting a brigade combat team to try to promote ... some semblance of readiness for 1BCT as they prepare to go to JRTC."
This non-typical OPFOR organization and approach created additional cross-training opportunities for TF Honor Commandos supporting Mountain Peak who operated within roles they would not normally fill.
"This is TF Honor's first major test as a rear detachment task force, and I think it's our validation for the upcoming things that we're going to continue to do as we support 3BCT next year, as well as the rest of the division as they move into the division warfighter," Beaulieu added.
Commandos in TF Honor have back-to-back support missions on the menu beginning early next year, further enabling 10th MTN readiness as TF Courage continues missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
"I think it's a testament to the Commando brigade's versatility, adaptability and resilience, and (our) willingness and overall capability to ... affect multiple theaters," Beaulieu said.