By Staff Sgt. Kenneth PawlakMay 14, 2012
CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- Soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, conducted a combined battalion Culminating Training Event, formerly called External Evaluation, with their counterparts from the Republic of Korea Army's 125th Mechanized Battalion and 27th Tank Battalion.
The CTE, held April 26- May 3, evaluated the ability of Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment, nicknamed the "Crusaders," to alert, deploy and conduct combat operations at training areas throughout the Republic of Korea.
As the Army's last remaining permanently forward-stationed division, the 2nd Inf. Div. has long been challenged conducting realistic battalion-level field training due to the lack of Combat Readiness Center-like training facilities on the Korean Peninsula.
This first-ever, fully integrated combined live, virtual and constructive gaming exercise consisted of company- and team-level scenarios, including a simulated chemical environment, to evaluate the battalion's performance in its mission essential tasks. This type of fully integrated LVC-G training has never been conducted to this level in the United States. The LVC-G training also saves money on maintenance, fuel and ammunition as Soldiers can conduct virtual or constructive rehearsals before conducting missions live, and safety is enhanced because Soldiers can replicate dangerous missions in a safe environment.
During the week-long exercise, Soldiers conducted combined maneuver training at Twin Bridges Training Area, mounted and dismounted maneuvers at Rodriguez Multi-purpose Live-fire Range Complex and operated from the Closed Combat Tactical Trainer simulators and Virtual Battle Space 2 gaming systems on Camp Casey.
The CTE was evaluated by ROKA observers and observer-trainers from the Joint Maneuver Readiness Center in Germany. The evaluation assessed and certified battalion-level systems and operations executed with ROKA counterparts in defense of the Republic of Korea.
"This is the first time a battalion has done live, virtual and constructive training together on this scale," said Sgt. 1st Class James Mintz, observer-trainer, Joint Multi-National Readiness Center, Germany. "The executing unit in the field saw a seamless picture on their battle systems. What was happening in the CCTT and on VBS-2 was what the Soldiers in the field were experiencing."
"It was exciting to have 1-72nd Armor perform as a team. All of the companies were involved," said Lt. Col. Kenneth Stephens, commander, 1st Bn., 72nd Armor Regt. "The Culminating Training Exercise proved that 'Crusaders' could execute successfully live and virtual operations. The company commanders were able to move their companies on the battlefield in live or virtual."
The 2nd Inf. Div. will continue to increase its tough, realistic combined training with partner ROK units at all levels to better develop its combined interoperability, fighting tactics, techniques and processes with its ROKA partners.
To ensure 1st BCT's readiness to "Fight Tonight," its units conduct more combined live-fire training than any other unit in the Army, said Col. Ross E. Davidson Jr., brigade commander. "Interoperability with ROK Army partners is critical to its mission on Freedom's Frontier and 1BCT leads the Army in its execution of fully integrated, combined live, virtual and constructive training."
"The partnership with the ROK Army was great, translators made it very easy to understand each other's mission and purpose," said Mintz. "They communicated and worked well with the U.S. Soldiers."
The goal of implementing CTEs on the peninsula is to both train and validate the readiness of 2nd Inf. Div. battalions by conducting a Combined Training Center-like exercise. Moving forward, the intent is to conduct a battalion-level CTE once during each battalion commander's command tour in order to train the command and staff in the execution of their battalion mission essential tasks.