Col. Hank Barnes, left, commander of 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West – First Army, the 189th Infantry Brigade, provides training product guidance to staff engaged in the 40th Infantry Division’s Command Post Exercise II at North Fort Hood, Texas, April 4, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Scott J. Evans, 189th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs Office)
Col. Hank Barnes, left, commander of 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West – First Army, the 189th Infantry Brigade, provides training product guidance to staff engaged in the 40th Infantry Division’s Command Post Exercise II at North Fort Hood, Texas, April 4, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Scott J. Evans, 189th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs Office) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Scott Evans) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas – The command team of the 40th Infantry Division, California Army National Guard, conducted a War Fighter Exercise with direct support from observer, coach and trainers of the 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West – First Army in April.

The 40th ID, also known as the Sunburst Division, fulfilled the WFX as part of its annual training requirement. Every staff section of the division was provided a 24/7 simulated tactical operations environment. Soldiers exercised timely battle planning, reporting and monitoring of their coordinated efforts against enemy forces in a modern warfighting scenario. OC/Ts assessed the Soldiers and provided after-action reviews.

The 189th Infantry Brigade supports training missions to prepare Army Reserve and National Guard units to operate in large-scale combat environments while gaining confidence in command and control systems and internal processes. The Cold Steel Brigade has long tutored units throughout the western United States to succeed on the battlefield.

With these goals in mind, the brigade’s OC/Ts engaged every section of the division’s headquarters element in a series of challenging missions and injects. The WFX also served as the second of three Command Post Exercises for the 40th ID to improve their operational prowess.

U.S. Army Col. Hank Barnes, commander of the 189th Infantry Brigade, traveled alongside his staff and OC/Ts from their JBLM headquarters to serve as the exercise director.

“CPX II is a critical part of 40th ID’s training path to future training events,” said Barnes. “This exercise specifically formalizes how they communicate across the battlefield, share information and understanding, and enable good decision making by their leaders.”

Barnes and his staff, alongside Division West leadership, were impressed by Sunburst Division’s progress during the exercise.

“First Army assesses the 40th ID to be above the standard they set for themselves for this exercise,” he said. “They are growing and learning faster than what we anticipated from their first CPX in California last month. The 40th ID is a learning organization that gets better each day and responds very well to coaching.”

Lt. Col. Christopher Elson, commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion (HHBN), 40th ID, said he was also impressed with the progress.

“After three years in seven exercises and two division WFXs [with 40th ID], the Soldiers of HHBN never fail to meet my expectations as the most professional and competent headquarters element I have worked with,” Elson said.

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