Gen. Michael Garrett, U.S. Army Forces Command commanding general, visits the III Corps headquarters tent to receive a briefing during Warfighter Exercise 21-4 April 7, 2021, at Fort Hood, Texas. Warfighter 21-4 was a military training event that challenged senior commanders and staffs in a computer-driven battlefield simulation
Gen. Michael Garrett, U.S. Army Forces Command commanding general, visits the III Corps headquarters tent to receive a briefing during Warfighter Exercise 21-4 April 7, 2021, at Fort Hood, Texas. Warfighter 21-4 was a military training event that challenged senior commanders and staffs in a computer-driven battlefield simulation (Photo Credit: Sgt. Evan Ruchotzke) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- U.S. Army Forces Command units hosted multiple European militaries to test interoperability this month during a large joint exercise that simulated corps-level battle, its commander said Friday.

Warfighter 21-4 teamed U.S. Soldiers with tactical divisions from the U.K. and French armies, said Gen. Michael X. Garrett during a virtual Defense Writers Group event.

The exercise, which ran from April 6-15, replicated how a corps would fight alongside multinational, unified action partners.

“It's a computer simulation driven event,” Garrett said. “We do these to train our divisions and corps in large scale ground combat operations.”

The exercise was also the largest Mission Command Training Program exercise in over three decades, and the result of months of planning and preparation, organizers said in a recent news release.

“We’re never going to fight alone and our partners are always going to be incredibly important to us,” Garrett said, “and training with them, gaining a better sense of our interoperability requirements and challenges just make us stronger.”

The exercise also continued to test an enduring environment based on command and control for operations, support, planning and execution using a common network infrastructure.

Following COVID-19 prevention guidelines, over 3,000 troops came together from multiple locations, including Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Grafenwoehr, Germany.

Garrett took part in an after-action review during the last day of the exercise.

“There weren’t any huge surprises,” he said. “What we continue to learn is that interoperability with our partners and allies is incredibly important.”

French Cpt. Arnaud Raedersdorf and U.S. Master Sgt. Brandon Bybee of the French Rapid Reaction Corps, French III Division take a break from the day’s briefings during Warfighter 21-4 March 29, 2021, at Fort Hood, Texas. U.S., United Kingdom and French Soldiers worked together over the course of two weeks to certify their respective corps and build multinational interoperability.
French Cpt. Arnaud Raedersdorf and U.S. Master Sgt. Brandon Bybee of the French Rapid Reaction Corps, French III Division take a break from the day’s briefings during Warfighter 21-4 March 29, 2021, at Fort Hood, Texas. U.S., United Kingdom and French Soldiers worked together over the course of two weeks to certify their respective corps and build multinational interoperability. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Evan Ruchotzke) VIEW ORIGINAL

From the start, military leaders tested the combined formations on their ability to operate down to the brigade levels. The British and French forces integrated at the U.S. divisional level, and for the first time U.S. brigade combat teams were inserted into European divisions.

Another first during the exercise was the implementation of the Army Interoperability Measurement System. The system assessed current interoperability levels between the units.

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Center for Army Lessons Learned collection and analysis teams are gathering observations, lessons, and best practices to input into AIMS.

Garrett said communication was the key to success. For instance, he said some American Soldiers who spoke French even helped aid in that communication. “Our ability to communicate naturally is something we continue to learn, continue to work at, and continue to get better at,” he said.

As with other events in recent months, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for Army leaders to overcome.

“What we have done over the last year, and what we do every day, is continue to master our ability to operate in a COVID environment,” Garrett said. “I talked to the French leadership and the British leadership, [and] it was not lost on me all the things they had to do to exercise, to meet our training objectives.”

While the exercise is done, the lessons learned from it could carry over for some time, he said.

“As we continue to unpack this, there are going be a lot of useful lessons that will help drive future exercises,” Garrett said, adding, “we can improve on the interoperability that already exists out there.”

A III Corps Humvee sits behind a concertina wire barrier during Warfighter 21-4 March 29, 2021, at Fort Hood, Texas. U.S. III Corps, the French 3rd Division and the United Kingdom’s 3rd Division worked together to conduct the exercise.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A III Corps Humvee sits behind a concertina wire barrier during Warfighter 21-4 March 29, 2021, at Fort Hood, Texas. U.S. III Corps, the French 3rd Division and the United Kingdom’s 3rd Division worked together to conduct the exercise. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Evan Ruchotzke) VIEW ORIGINAL
Soldiers from the 15th Transportation Company, 100th Brigade Support Battalion, 75th Field Artillery Brigade from Fort Sill, Okla., secure a vehicle to a transportation platform March 5, 2021, in preparation for a company convoy to Fort Hood, Texas, as they prepare for Warfighter 21-4, a multinational large-scale warfighter exercise.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the 15th Transportation Company, 100th Brigade Support Battalion, 75th Field Artillery Brigade from Fort Sill, Okla., secure a vehicle to a transportation platform March 5, 2021, in preparation for a company convoy to Fort Hood, Texas, as they prepare for Warfighter 21-4, a multinational large-scale warfighter exercise. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Dustin Biven) VIEW ORIGINAL

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