GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The Victory Corps completed Warfighter Exercise 22-1, the culminating exercise for validation of V Corps as a European Command allocated corps headquarters, Oct. 5.
The multi-component exercise — which had a main command post in Grafenwoehr, Germany, and a rear command post in Fort Riley, Kansas — tested V Corps’ ability to mission command large scale combat operations in a multi-national environment.
“[The] Warfighter is a certifying exercise, meaning it helps two and three star divisional and corps headquarters prove that they are prepared to be warfighting [commands] in combat,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Lamkins, operations, training and plans (G3/5/7) sergeant major, V Corps. “That’s important for us because this headquarters is assigned to Europe, so we are the first corps to get the call if anything ever erupts in that theater.”
WFX 22-1 was V Corps' final certifying exercise in becoming America’s forward deployed corps in Europe.
“Warfighter Exercise 22-1 served as the capstone training event for this headquarters, certifying us as the Army’s fourth warfighting corps.” said Lt. Gen. John Kolasheski, commanding general, V Corps. “We recognize that we did not get to where we are today by ourselves, but instead because of the collective efforts of others. Activated just 12 short months ago, to see where we are today is simply amazing. We look forward to the future, assuming responsibilities in support of USAREUR-AF [U.S. Army Europe and Africa] and demonstrating US commitment and resolve to European stability and security.”
The eight day exercise consisted of battle operations, a distinguished visitor’s day that involved multi-national leaders, and a jump where everything was torn down, moved, and then re-established within 24 hours which took an extensive amount of training.
During the exercise, V Corps worked closely with U.S. Army Europe and Africa; 3rd Infantry Division; 7th Army Training Command; 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota National Guard; 103rd Sustainment Command (expeditionary), U.S. Army Reserve; 35th Engineer Brigade, 1st Engineer Battalion, Missouri Army National Guard; 333rd Military Police Brigade, 200th Military Police Command, U.S. Army Reserve; and V Corps Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.
Each unit played an important role in the exercise.
“I made a joke while we were in the MCP [main command post], that I’m in charge of everything from making sure there are staples where they need to be to making sure the whole process of the warfighter is complete,” said Capt. Brock Jensen, headquarters support company commander, HHBN, V Corps. “We, at the mayor’s cell, are responsible for supporting the warfighter for everything [the corps] need[s]. We never really limit [our roles].I have a policy where we just say ‘yes’ and support.”
In preparation for WFX 22-1, V Corps completed three other command post exercises.
“The difference between this exercise and the last exercise is that this is like our exam,” said Lamkins. “Coming through this exercise successfully and meeting our training objectives signals to the United States Army, the Department of Defense, and, frankly, to the whole world that V Corps is ready to assume its role as a warfighting headquarters.”
Locating a rear command post in Fort Riley, Kansas, created real-world communication challenges.
“The reason we forward deploy to Germany and Kansas is to stress all of our communication systems,” said Lamkins. “In this echelon, you are fighting in a way called distributed, meaning that everyone is not together. This forces us to work through the technical challenges of using all these systems over space and through time.”
The corps also navigated real-world challenges during the exercise such as the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to the location in the eleventh hour.
“There were a lot of last minute decisions, but it taught us how to rapidly respond [to complete our mission],” said Cpl. Matthew Winn, a human resource specialist, HSC, V Corps. “It was a lot to learn, but it was better than what I’ve dealt with on past deployments. We definitely hit the ground running. A lot of the junior [Soldiers] did a really good job with everything that was happening.”
V Corps had some unexpected challenges during the exercise, but were able to overcome them and meet all of the training objectives to prove they were ready to be considered a fully operationally capable headquarters.
“V Corps did a really great job,” said Col. Robert Molinari, chief of operations group A, Mission Command Training Program, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center. “They gave 110 percent daily. They were receptive to coaching and observations, and every single day, across the board, they got better. So, I think it was a fantastic opportunity for V Corps to really see themselves, to improve on, and to prepare for what the Army might ask of them.”
V Corps will assume enduring mission requirements in support of USAREUR-AF as a split-based headquarters with locations in Fort Knox, Kentucky and Poznan, Poland. The return of the Victory Corps to Europe enhances security in the region and reassures our NATO and partner nations of the United States’ commitment to our European allies.
V Corps was originally established during WWI in France and inactivated at Wiesbaden, Germany in 2013. The Victory Corps was officially reactivated in October 2020 during a ceremony at Fort Knox, Kentucky.