FORT CARSON, Colo. – Combat readiness comes in all forms to support the overall mission. Everyone and everything plays a part when it comes to accomplishing goals and fulfilling the commander's intent.
404th Aviation Support Battalion, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division wrapped up Operation Cornerstone, a field exercise designed to train personnel on sustainment operations and demonstrate the battalion's support capabilities.
Every structure must possess a strong foundation and supporting aspects to prevent it from toppling over or caving in.
"404th ASB has a unique role to the overall brigade," Capt. David Repsold, battalion operations, said. "We serve as the foundation and support for all the battalions and brigade as a whole."
As a support battalion, the unit prioritizes teaching its Soldiers to be technically proficient and efficient when carrying out sustainment missions and tasks.
"We are here to enhance our platoon level proficiency to support company adjacent missions." Command Sgt. Maj. Jon Trawickth, 404th ASB senior enlisted advisor, said. "All the while sharpening our fieldcraft and teaching our Soldiers how to live in an austere environment."
The week-long field training exercise consisted of many training opportunities such as setting up convoy lanes, base defense, support logistic operations to neighboring units, drivers training, medical patient transfer, mass casualty, and many more.
The unit took a crawl-walk-run phased approach to the field exercise to enable the teams to make tremendous improvements throughout the phases.
"We developed each coming day that we were out here," Repsold said, "ultimately being able to efficiently accomplish over 90% of our mission essential task lists."
The typical day would start with a very early morning stand-to, where Soldiers would take up defensive positions surrounding and guarding the perimeter of the base site.
After establishing the all-clear, it led to breakfast chow served hot, prepared by the field cooks.
"The mornings and days were cold, so we wanted to make sure our Soldiers started the day with a warm meal, something more to look forward to when waking up," said Trawick "not just having to wake up and fuel off something out of a packet."
After morning chow, Soldiers would dive into the daily training, most notably forward arming and refueling operations (FARP) as well as downed aircraft recovery teams (DART).
The FARP and DART missions are essential training for a support unit within an aviation brigade. If an aircraft goes down and needs support, the FARP and DART training is vital to mission success.
"The better we are at our job, the better we are able to facilitate support to the other 4th CAB units," said Repsold.
As a whole, Operation Cornerstone helped the battalion establish its capabilities and a clear understanding of expectations.
While mission accomplishment is a priority for the field training exercise, the essential factor for the unit is the people who serve.
"Our focus is not just the success of the mission and unit," said Trawick, "but also the success of every single individual Soldier."