JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Guardsmen with the Washington National Guard’s 56th Theater Information Operations Group tested their skills during the 2023 Field Support Training Olympics July 8.
Participants in the FST Olympics competed as teams and prepared for real-world scenarios involving information-related capabilities.
Participants included Soldiers with Bravo Company, 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion (A) (D), 12th Psychological Operations Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, and aviation support from Bravo Company, “Boxcars,” 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment, Washington National Guard.
To begin the event, four groups of Guardsmen conducted an air infiltration and foot march to Leschi Town Training Facility, where they completed six lanes involving radio communications, tactical deception, psychological operations, public affairs, key leader engagement and physical challenges.
Every lane provided essential information to each Soldier that could be applied during real-world scenarios.
“We’re gathering information and took our prior knowledge to the lane,” said Spc. Hunter Gerard, a competitor from 56th TIOG. “Having [that knowledge] contextualized made it make more sense, so everything that we gathered helped us build upon what we already know.”
For example, lane 5 (KLE) focused on using key talking points when communicating with local leaders. The goal was to stay on topic and protect critical information provided to each team at the beginning of the lane.
“Operational security is something that all Soldiers need to be able to conduct properly,” said Maj. James Payne, the lane grader. “But being able to connect with partner forces in a real way where we get what we need is absolutely key to our success on the battlefield.”
To end the FST Olympics, a CH-47 Chinook flew by and dropped leaflets across the training site.
“It was awesome. Every single lane was really fun, and it felt like every lane was really thought out,” said Gerard.