By 2nd Lt. Scott McCartney, 2-9th Inf.February 2, 2011
CAMP CASEY, South Korea - Several battalions from the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team and 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade combined their assets for a night time air assault training exercise during Operation Iron Forge Lite at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex Dec. 9-10.
The operation centered on an air assault conducted by the "Manchu Lightfighters" of 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st HBCT, to secure key terrain at the complex while other Soldiers simultaneously maneuvered virtual armored vehicles at the Close Combat Tactical Training center on Camp Casey.
"This was a battalion-level air assault, at night, with limited visibility and challenging weather conditions," said Maj. Toma Kim, the 2-9th Inf. executive officer. "It incorporated mounted and dismounted elements from the battalion, both live and virtual, along with numerous enablers from around the brigade against a challenging opposing force."
The "Wildcards" of 2nd Battalion (Assault), 2nd Aviation Regiment, and the "Death Dealers" of 4th (Attack) Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment transported more than 150 Manchu Lightfighters over a complex air route to the objective.
In addition to 2nd CAB's air support, Soldiers throughout the Iron Team participated in the exercise. The 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion provided two squads of engineers for point obstacle reduction and reconnaissance; a tactical human interrogation team to question enemy prisoners of war; and the chemical decontamination platoon to decontaminate a tank platoon following a simulated attack. The 302nd Brigade Support Battalion provided a facility at the objective to refuel units on the move. The 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment provided indirect fire coverage and were instrumental in setting the conditions to get the air assault into the objective. Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment served as observers and exercise controllers to ensure all training objectives were met.
With temperatures below freezing and the mountainous terrain coated with fresh snow, the Manchus fought through the night destroying enemy squads and securing key infrastructure to accomplish the mission.
"Soldiers benefitted greatly from a challenging mission," said Kim. "All of this stretched the battalion's command and control capabilities, and exercised numerous individual and collective tasks across the entire battalion and every (Military Occupational Specialty)."
He added the exercise served as the baseline for future training, while lessons were learned on how to continue to conduct tough, realistic combat focused training across the Iron Team and the entire Warrior Division.
"All battalion-level training objectives were met," Kim said. "Excellent feedback from the observant controllers helped us recognize what we need to focus on next quarter."
"Overall 2-9th Inf. Soldiers performed very well, but we need to continue training events like this to get better," concluded Kim.