FORT HOOD, Texas – The III Armored Corps completed Warfighter 23-4 at Fort Hood, Texas, April 27th, 2023, after two weeks of simulated battlefield operations and more than a year in preparation.
Thousands of troops from across the corps, alongside NATO allies including 3rd (United Kingdom) Division, participated in the exercise that tested numerous facets of military operations, to include sustainment and logistics.
“The Warfighter exercise is about what happens when you actually start executing the operational plan, and sustainment is embedded in that from top to bottom," said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Chris Mohan, deputy commanding general of Army Materiel Command.
Nine other countries, including Italy, Germany, and France, observed the exercise over the course of nine days, but the 3rd (UK) Division was integral to the sustainment operation within the exercise.
During the exercise, the 3rd (UK) Division chefs and 13th Armored Corps Sustainment Command culinary specialists conducted joint training on one another's culinary equipment.
“Cross training with our allies is critical because they are the individuals that will be on our left and right,” said U.S Army Master Sgt. Emmanuel Madu, senior culinary management non-commissioned officer of 13th ACSC. “[If we can] train and familiarize them with different platforms, we will be able to function in a combat zone.”
Manu and one of his U.K. counterparts went on to highlight why the food behind the fight is so important.
“We have a saying, ‘no mission without nutrition,’” Madu said. “Ammunition is important, but nutrition is what sustains our warfighters to be able to go forward into the fight.”
U.K. Sgt. Kaman Limbu, a kitchen manager assigned to 3rd (UK) Division, has been serving his country 18 years.
“I've seen many Soldiers come up to the hot plate, and when they see the food, that's a big morale boost,” Limbu said. “That's why we push out a variety of meals from different countries with four to five different protein options.”
When it comes to Army sustainment, both Soldiers and equipment must be fueled to maintain the fight. Sustainment units provide bulk fuel support within the operational contexts of competition, crisis, and conflict, in order to ensure the combatant commander’s freedom of movement, operational reach, and prolonged endurance.
During the Warfighter, III Armored Corps fuelers planned refueling missions to make sure vehicles and equipment stayed in the fight.
“Our part is to forecast the delivery of fuel to all the divisions, from 48 to 120 hours out, to make sure the units get the resupply they need in time so they can continue the fight,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Franko Solano, petroleum supply specialist, 13th ACSC.
A corps-sized force could require an estimated two million gallons of fuel per day and would need enough food to sustain up to 45,000 Soldiers.
“III Armored Corps is our biggest consumer of fuel, ammunition, repair parts, and maintenance capability,” said Mohan, the AMC deputy commander. “For sustainers, we’ve got to get it right” in reference to the Warfighter’s simulated large-scale combat operations.
Mohan added that the future of sustainment is to be efficient and predictive.
“How do we reduce demands on the battlefield?” Mohan said. “[Sustainers need] more efficient power generation, water from other sources besides water buffaloes, hybrid vehicles, and autonomous delivery. We don’t want sustainment to chase combat capability. We want to meet there so that we can give them ammunition, water, etc.”
As the Army transitions from counterinsurgency operations to potential large-scale combat operations, one sentiment that is shared amongst sustainers is that synchronization and detailed planning is critical.
“I see a synergy where our sustainers are placed in planning efforts,” Mohan said. “I think III Armored Corps is doing a fantastic job of integrating sustainment capabilities and commands into everything that they do."
Warfighter 23-4 is a Department of Defense directed multi-echelon, multinational exercise with III Armored Corps, 1st Armored Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 36th Engineer Brigade, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, and 89th Military Police Brigade, to include NATO allies such as the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division, among others. The exercise was designed to enhance lethality, readiness, and allied interoperability.