By Maj. James Jackson, 2ABCT Public AffairsSeptember 20, 2012
FORT STEWART. Ga. - Soldiers from the 2nd "Spartan" Brigade Combat Team traveled to Australia to conduct essential training with select members of the Australian Army's 1st Brigade, Aug. 22, in Darwin, Australia, prior to deploying to Afghanistan.
On July 4 of 1918, the 'Australian Diggers' and American Soldiers fought side by side to successfully defeat the Germans during World War I at the Battle of Hamel in Northern France.
Nearly a century later, the Soldiers of these two countries find themselves paired again as the future headquarters of the Combined Team Uruzgan in Afghanistan.
The training conducted by the 'Spartan' team in Australia was a rare opportunity.
"We are here to establish and build relationships with our Australian counterparts as we come together as Combined Team Uruzgan," said Col. Douglas C. Cardinale, commander, 2ABCT, 3rd ID.
Together the 'Spartan' and Digger teams overcame the challenges associated with two brigades from two similar, yet very distinct differences, joining to form one team.
"The Mission Rehearsal Activity gives us an opportunity to synchronize the two parts of the staff that will form the Combined Team Uruzgan in order to create options and preserve options to allow the CTU Commander, Col. Stuart, to make decisions," Col. Cardinale said.
Over the two week exercise, the CTU staff was put through a variety of scenarios that mirrored a two week operational cycle in Uruzgan.
"The training involved complex scenarios that replicate the contemporary operational environment and reflect the responsibilities of the combined headquarters," said Col. Jake Ellwood, commander, Combined Training Center, Australia.
"The aim is that when we get to Afghanistan we have already done what we are going to be doing," stated Col. Simon Stuart, Commander, Combined Team Uruzgan.
The two week exercise tested a variety of skills of the combined staff; their ability to conduct typical staff functions as well as adapt to an increasingly changing environment. The combined staff conducted business in an extremely professional manner.
"The fact that the two staffs were able to come together in such a short period of time is a testament to the caliber of Soldiers that will make up the Combined Team Uruzgan," Col Cardinale said.
Though both the American and Australian teams have a variety of milestones to complete prior to deploying over the next couple of months, there was an air of confidence after finishing the Mission Rehearsal Activity in Darwin. The team is no longer an American team or Australian team. It is now the Combined Team Uruzgan that stands ready to deploy to Afghanistan. One team, one fight!