FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky – The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) held a leader professional development (LPD) training on company, battery, and troop commander survivability, during Operation Lethal Eagle at Fort Campbell, Ky., Nov. 17.
The LPD provided the opportunity to educate the 101st Abn. Div. (AA) leaders on strong point defense and survivability operations at brigade combat team level and all the work that goes into preparing a defense.
“It’s important because we know in the next future fight we’ll be going up against a near-peer enemy and that’s going to require us to conduct a joint force forcible entry, we’re going to seize key terrain and we’re going to hold that terrain until follow on forces can pass through,” said Maj. Eric J. Gutierrez, executive officer, 21st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
The LPD was setup by stages. First the leaders were provided the standard for platoon battle position specifically the two man, the machine gun, and the mortar firing positions. They also brought in three pieces of engineer equipment that are resident in the BCT.
"The point there is to provide that familiarity with our leaders so that when that equipment shows up to their company AO (area of operation) they understand the capabilities and limitations of that equipment and what they need to bring to the fight in order to maximize the effects of that equipment, understanding where they’re placing their company positions and the support that they need to provide those engineers when they show up on site,” said Gutierrez.
As the leaders moved along the backside of the perimeter, they were shown over time what the construction of a fighting position should look like. From initial to final position it may take anywhere from 7 to 12 hours to ensure they have cover, concealment and camouflage to provide that survivability for their Soldiers. They also had equipment positions dug in for their AN/TPQ-53 radar system, the fueler, and M777 Howitzer.
“That allows our leaders outside the infantry company to understand what right looks like with regards to providing survivability for critical pieces of equipment within the BCT,” Gutierrez said.
Further, as they transitioned through the focal point on the defense, they have a complex obstacle dug in.
“Not many leaders have seen what an actual complex obstacle looks like, dug into the earth, tied into a terrain including wire and mines, to create that complex effect,” said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez added, “From there we move into our final position where we’re standing here, where we have another two standard dug in platoons, along with a terrain model that the division G-3 has constructed to showcase the finer points of the company strong point defense and really tie this all together and make it clear and concise on why it matters at a company level, to understand how to place the defense and how to maximize the survivability of our Soldiers here in the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault.”
“I think it’s a great training opportunity to prepare everyone and teach them some lessons that we kind of forgot in the past 20 years, so we’re learning organization, we’re just trying to get better every day and teach everyone at all different levels what we can do now to prepare for future conflict,” said Maj. J. Ross Moreno, division fires and LPD instructor, 101st Abn. Div.
“As leaders in the 101st it’s our job to make sure we know the business we’re in so we can prepare our Soldiers, train them at the level of efficiency they need to be at. The CG’s focus on training the units, it’s starting at the lowest level and building up. It’s an opportunity to focus everyone’s efforts in one general direction and just get some good training reps out there. I’ve absolutely had a blast doing this and I’m looking forward to the next opportunity where we can get more people out here and teach them about really, what our profession is.”