The Soldiers of the Combined Arms Center (CAC), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, have managed to take an international crisis and create the learning opportunity of a lifetime.“History has shown us that, whatever problem set you put an American Soldier in, they’re going to figure it out,” said U.S. Army Col. Tommy Cardone, the chief of Operations Group Charlie (OG-C) deployed by the CAC. “So here we are, and that’s why we got the call.”The CAC normally functions as the force modernization component that prepares the armed forces and their leaders for war. However, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was tasked through U.S. Army North to assist the task forces in charge of providing defense support to regions in need. The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded an unprecedented response from agencies at all levels of government. This is the first time that all 10 FEMA regions have required defense support in the history of the nation.OG-C was assigned to Task Force Center, composed of the 46th Military Police Command and supported units. Task Force Center provided command and control for defense support in three FEMA regions, or 15 states ranging from Michigan to Louisiana. The other operation groups were sent to Task Force West, Task Force East, and Task Force Southeast.“Task Force Center has a skillset that, until this mission happened, we did not possess. And now we do,” said Cardone. “This will inform our leadership abilities in the future. We’ll have these experiences with us for life.”The CAC provided five 20-Soldier teams, or operations groups, from the Mission Command and Training Programs (MCTP). These operations groups would normally conduct brigade warfighting exercises, providing training for brigade combat teams as well as some functional and multifunctional brigades.“Experiences in the past always inform experiences in the future,” said Cardone. “That’s how we’re able to put together whatever we needed to in an unfamiliar mission set we found ourselves in here at Task Force Center.”According to Lt. Col. Clifton Cribb, the protection warfighting chief for OG-C, the group integrated themselves into Task Force Center upon arrival in order to advise where they could and learn from the unique challenges the COVID-19 presented the task force.“Out of the 20 Soldiers, three began assisting the interagency liaison officer, four inserted themselves into the task force headquarters staff, and the remaining 13 formed a planning cell,” said Cribb. This planning cell’s function was to help Task Force Center look 96 to 200 hours into the future.“Overall, what we’re trying to do is help the task force by filling key roles and essential positions and providing some additional capability,” said Lt. Col. Wesley Hiraoka, the chief observer controller trainer and head of the planning cell.During their time with Task Force Center, OG-C also focused on capturing the unique joint medical operations providing COVID-19 support in FEMA Regions 5, 6, and 7, including Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces (UAMTFs) that performed medical support for Dallas and Detroit and Navy units providing support for New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Dallas.“It’s interesting to see the dynamics between the different forces coming together as one to support the nation,” said Cribb. This work also allowed the task force to capture data on the joint operations, run current operations, and be informed on what to expect as the mission continued.“We accomplished everything we were asked to do,” said Cardone. “I couldn’t be more proud of my folks doing well for MCTP and Fort Leavenworth.”