By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampJune 24, 2010
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - If one can\'t be the Soldier in theater, the next best thing is preparing those Soldiers with proper training for combat, said Battle Command Training Program Executive Officer Lt. Col. David Cannon.
BCTP was presented with the Army Superior Unit Award June 22 at the Lewis and Clark Center. BCTP was presented the award for outstanding meritorious service in support of the Global War on Terrorism and homeland defense in 2007 and 2008. BCTP, under the Combined Arms Center-Training directorate, consists of seven operations groups that deploy worldwide to train Soldiers. Operations Groups A and D train corps- and division-level staff; Operations Group B conducts battle command seminars; Operations Group C conducts brigade warfighter exercises; Operations Group F trains functional brigades; Operations Group S trains sustainment brigades; and Operations Group COE is responsible for contemporary operational environment training.
Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, said BCTP is a critical component. He said that in his previous station as commander of the 25th Infantry Division, BCTP exercises taught deploying Soldiers about the nature of conflict, economic lines of effort, building government lines of effort and working with international security forces.
"From the point seminar all the way down to our (mission rehearsal exercise), the BCTP exercise really set the foundation of what it would take to be successful in Iraq," Caslen said.
The award citation read that BCTP "significantly increased the readiness of Army forces deployed around the world, and it remains the premiere vehicle for providing battle command training to the Army."
BCTP has been in existence since 1986 and executed its first warfighter exercise in 1988. Although Cannon said BCTP had been using a unit flag since that time, he said the Department of the Army hadn't officially recognized it. In addition to the Superior Unit Award streamer, the Army officially recognized BCTP with unit colors on April 1, 2010.
BCTP is the only worldwide deployable combat training center and is the first CTC to receive the award after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Col. Mark E. McKnight, BCTP commander, said the award is a special recognition for the Soldiers, civilians, contractors and their families who experience frequent deployments.
"I think it just shows appreciation for what our families do to support an Army at war," McKnight said.
Cannon said BCTP trainers can spend up to two or three weeks away from home each month. With the high operational tempo at BCTP, the award speaks volumes about the work they're doing, he said. Cannon said in order to receive the Superior Unit Award, the higher command team not only has to support the unit's work but also be able to quantify the unit's work.
"It's a very difficult award to earn and be recognized for," he said.