By Mollie Miller, 1st Inf. Div. Public AffairsJune 27, 2012
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Marshall Army Airfield was a bit more crowded than usual June 23 as a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft and crew joined the 1st Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade team for an emergency deployment readiness exercise.
The event, which included more than 100 division Soldiers as well as airmen from the California-based 60th Air Mobility Wing, was designed to offer leaders within the "Big Red One" an opportunity to observe and assess the deployment readiness of the aviation brigade's Task Force Saber.
"The EDRE helps us ensure that our units and installation support activities are capable of rapidly deploying a complete, mission-ready force package under emergency conditions and within required reaction times," Fort Riley Senior Mission Commander Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie said. "These exercises are vital as we work to make sure our BRO team is ready to accomplish whatever mission we may receive in the future."
The exercise began early last week when Task Force Saber leaders were notified of a "pending deployment." The notification kicked off a series of events that eventually lead task force members to Forbes Field in Topeka where they met their Air Force comrades and proceeded to load a variety of helicopters into the C-17. Once the helicopters were secure in the Globemaster, the airmen flew them back to Fort Riley where "Demon" brigade Soldiers received them and reassembled them June 23.
"To meet today's challenges and tomorrow's uncertain conflicts, we must field an Army that can rapidly dominate any operational environment and provide decisive results across a full range of missions," Combat Aviation Brigade Commander Col. John Morgan said. "The Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise helped us ensure that the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley have the systems in place to set us up for success in any mission."
Task Force Saber Executive Officer Maj. Seth Vieux said the EDRE presented his team a great opportunity to put their paper plans into action. Vieux added that the action and activity of the exercise allowed his team to make adjustments to manning and timeline requirements to ensure more success in "real life" situations.
Vieux said the event was "certainly a success" adding that he is now very confident in his task force's ability to deploy rapidly in the event of a world emergency.
"This exercise helped us identify our strengths … and showed us where our rough edges are," he said. "We are certainly going to be much more prepared should we get an order to deploy."
Additional emergency deployment exercises will be conducted throughout the division in the coming months to ensure the entire BRO team is ready for all future global mission requirements.