FORT RILEY, Kansas – Inside the brain of a division-level combat operation exists a complex neural network consisting of dozens of shops and hundreds of people working towards a common objective.
Over a ten-day period, Danger Ready 2, an exercise designed to train elements of the 1st Infantry Division on the scope and scale of large-scale combat operations implemented multiple movements to test the unit's ability to break down and rebuild functioning sites.
Logistics elements play a key role in all warfighting capacities. The ability to sustain a fighting force often is the difference between victory and defeat. These commodities are the lifeblood of any combat element. In a strenuous environment, knowing what a unit needs is equally as important as knowing how to supply it.
“I believe we are replicating what happens overseas,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tyler Robinson, senior movements noncommissioned officer assigned to the 1st Sustainment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Division Materials Center, 1st Inf. Div. “It’s great training. It’s kind of rough at times but that’s what refines you and makes you better.”
The second stage of the Danger Ready exercise implemented more advanced warfighting techniques, which focused on perfecting the art of synchronizing time and space in a hostile environment where large forces are engaged with one another. Soldiers reviewed satellite imagery, studied by geospatial analysts, conducted two-minute briefing drills that highlighted key decision points in the simulated battle space and coordinated rapid relocation of key combat assets.
Elements belonging to the 1st Inf. Div.’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Sustainment Brigade, Signal Company and Division Artillery, trained in tandem with Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division and the U.S. Army’s V Corps, who are currently operating in Poland, in preparation for Warfighter, a capstone exercise synchronizing the U.S. Army and Allied forces across the globe on more sophisticated operational standards.
“Character development is very important when it comes to day-to-day operations,” said Spc. Bilend Amin a geospatial intelligence imagery analyst assigned to Signal Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Inf. Div. “Part of being an enlisted Soldier there are going to be times where you're going to do grunt work, where you're going to have to help set everything up.
“You’re not just going to walk in and just do your job. Sometimes it requires you to get your hands dirty and set up some C-wire or help run cable or clean up equipment or facilities to maintain the area that you work in.”
Like logistics, accurate reconnaissance of an enemy’s composition and disposition informs senior leaders and provides them with an accurate representation of the battle space as it evolves over time.
“We are responsible for full motion imagery,” said Amin. “This information feeds the other sections of the division staff providing location of the enemy forces in time and space.”
Communication amongst headquarters elements leads to appropriate decisions which, in turn, fine tunes the ability for the division and allied elements to function in synchronization with one another.
“It’s going to start going faster and faster,” said U.S. Army Col. Terry R. Tillis, the 1st Infantry Division deputy commanding officer for maneuver, during one of many two-minute drills. “Your reports are important.”
Providing efficient and accurate communication at every level allows for effective moves to be made on a battlefield. In active combat environments, relaying accurate and timely information to senior officers can make the difference between success and failure. In this simulated environment, officers and noncommissioned officers are offered the opportunity to improve the level of detail and the speed at which accurate information is transferred.
“We should be building upon this every time,” said Tillis. “We are doing this to try and be better.”
For each Soldier the end state of training exercises is in understanding the capabilities of a division involved in a large-scale combat operation and their role in maintaining those capabilities.
The series of Danger Ready training events will continue to build upon one another, improving lethal functions of the 1st Inf. Div. and its ability to operate in any combat environment as it prepares for Warfighter 2024.