By Capt. Kurt Van SlootenApril 29, 2010
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The 1-306th Infantry Battalion "Bushmasters" of the 188th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, embedded a team of trainers with the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment when it deployed to Iraq in February.
The embedded team was deployed to provide feedback on the training the 188th Infantry Brigade provided to the 278th from Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center and to observe current theater conditions.
"We were trying to bring back the current tactics, techniques, and procedures, both friendly and enemy, in Iraq as it pertains to convoy security," said Capt. Jonathan D. McCary, who served as a squadron liaison officer to the 278th. "I observed the tactical operations center and planning cells; then went on patrol with the troops to examine how the planning was implemented."
McCary said the embed team was well integrated into the unit and was able to gain information that will benefit the next unit the brigade trains. He also said commanders of the 278th ACR were more than happy to assist them because any help they provided would be used to better train another Army National Guard unit deploying to Iraq.
"One of the issues identified," said Capt. Alexander L. Herren, another of the 1-306th liaison officers, "was that the unit would be better served with more time driving, maintaining and recovering the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Armored Vehicles, which they are now using in Iraq."
In all, the team determined that the 278th ACR had a relatively smooth transition into their territory, and was pleased to see the fruits of their labor in the training provided at Camp Shelby prepared the 278th to assume its position of responsibility in combat.
"Our objective at CSJFTC was to provide theater-focused training for the 278th ACR by replicating the conditions the 278th will likely encounter in Iraq," said Col. Robert A. Warburg, commander of the 188th Infantry Brigade.
"We measure our success in the operational relevance of our training platform, which is confirmed through continuous feedback from the 278th ACR once deployed to Iraq," continued Warburg. "By sending the embed team with the 278th ACR we were able to confirm the training provided and gain insight on up-to-date tactics used in theater both by friendly and enemy forces to apply to the next unit we train."
The 188th Infantry Brigade, including the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.