Over 150 Soldiers from the 11th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, Army Reserve Aviation Command, arrived in Lebanon County to establish the brigade’s tactical operation center in preparation for the unit’s first warfighter exercise, Oct. 27.
The exercise, hosted by the National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division, will see multiple Army components combine their assets and capabilities during a large simulated scale combat operations exercise titled Warfighter 21-2. Here, observer coach/trainers and senior mentors from the Mission Command Training Support Program out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas will evaluate the brigade’s primary staff members from Nov. 4 to Nov. 14. The intent will be to validate and synchronize the decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations from division to the brigade and across the warfighting functions.
“This is a collective training event for the brigade on the road to future mobilizations,” said Maj. Matthew D. Williams, lead WFX 21-2 planner and assistant operations officer with the 11th ECAB. “We are working towards transitioning from a group of individuals to a ready and trained team. When we are used to operating individually, and certain positions only workaround other jobs, an exercise like this gives us a new understanding of our strengths and weaknesses.”
Leading up to WFX 21-2, the brigade executed a 15-day Command Post Exercise at Fort Carson, Colorado, in August and participated in a week-long CPX hosted by 28ID in September.
“We conducted field and battle staff training events to familiarize our personnel and prepare our equipment,” said Williams. “The intent was to give the brigade a better understanding of the staff section’s role in the operations process before departing to the warfighter.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Carl M. Sheckles, Jr., the senior noncommissioned officer of the 11th ECAB, said he expects this exercise to strengthen the future leaders of the NCO Corps, that is, the junior Soldiers with the brigade.
“Warfighter 21-2 is a great training event that’ll help troops hone in on their fieldcraft skills, battle drills, mission command systems, troop leading procedures, and pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections,” said Sheckles. “Having these skills is a key stepping stone of being a Soldier; they are the basic building blocks to the Soldiering craft.”
Sheckles added he’s excited to see how WFX 21-2 will enhance the brigade’s overall readiness and warfighting talent.
“A top priority for the 11th ECAB is to make sure we are generating and sustaining highly trained, disciplined and fit Soldiers and organizations to deter aggression, dominate our adversaries and win our Nation’s wars,” he said. “I confident WFX 21-2 is the right step to take us into that direction.”