By Maj. Eric D. Verzola, Mission Command Training Program Group AlphaSeptember 30, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Operations Group Alpha, Mission Command Training Program (MCTP) conducted a Mission Rehearsal Exercise with the 3rd Infantry Division, September 5-16.
The exercise at Fort Stewart prepared the Marne Division for possible deployment to Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn.
The division's mission would be to complete the U.S. military's final drawdown there.
The 700 Soldiers of the division headquarters returned from Iraq last November following a 13-month tour that included the shift from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn on Sept. 1, 2010.
The Marne Division was critical to the success of the efforts in Baghdad and throughout the country that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. The division's troops have deployed to Iraq four times since combat operations began.
The MRX focused on the division headquarters, which would command day-to-day operations for deployed forces in Iraq.
Work was done to exercise the coordination with the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development and other agencies responsible for working with the government of Iraq.
Effort was made to prepare for mitigation of Kurd and Arab tensions within the country; foresee the task of securing critical national infrastructure and roads; continue combined operations with Iraqi Security Forces; and advise, train and assist efforts to aid and train the military and police forces there to provide a stable and secure Iraq.
Lt. Col. Ross Coffman, division operations officer, said "The U.S. Army is the premier fighting force in the world because of our incredible leaders and the training base that develops them.
Operations Group Alpha provides a first-class training environment for our Army."
He added that the MCTP training was beneficial. "The 3rd Infantry Division is a better organization because of this training," he said.
Officers and non-commissioned officers of MCTP Operations Group Alpha worked closely with the division headquarters to hone their skills in their craft through deliberate observation and training.
"The chief of the division's Protection Line of Effort transformed a very abstract idea "into an actionable and coherent plan that allowed the commanding general to achieve the vital task of protecting his formation," said Maj. Edwin Reyes Montanez, the Protection Observer/Trainer. "Identifying targets and mitigating risks helped them to protect Soldiers," he added.
Major L. Omar Lomas, Military Police Observer/Trainer, worked with the Marne Provost Marshal Office and observed them developing a knowledge management capability. "They used systems and software to track military working dogs, detainees and route status throughout the division's area during the exercise," he said. "The provost marshal staff was very receptive to the coaching and encouragement of using such systems which they were not normally accustomed to. Their non-commissioned officers were extremely creative and exercised initiative in using the tools to track MP assets on the battlefield."
Colonel Jack Flowers, commander, OPSGRP Alpha said, "I am humbled to be leading Operations Group Alpha again during a critical mission rehearsal exercise. It was another absolute great effort by every member of Operations Group Alpha for the 3rd Infantry Division."
Formerly known as the Battle Command Training Program, MCTP is part of the Training and Doctrine Command's Combined Arms Center-Training, which delivers training programs, products and services to leaders and units in support of Army readiness. Wherever Army training occurs, the Combined Arms Center-Training helps make it happen. To learn more about the Mission Command Training Program and CAC-T, visit http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cac-t/, www.facebook.com/usacactraining or www.twitter.com/usacactraining.