News: ‘Black Jack’ units sync to complete contingency operations exercise
By U.S. Army Sgt. Quentin Johnson
2nd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division PAO
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Readiness response theater assistance teams from the 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, conducted a contingency operations synchronization exercise at Bagram Air Field, Nov. 12, 2013.
The teams – Delta Company, 1st “Black Knights” Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, and Bravo Troop, 4th “Dark Horse” Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment – utilized the exercise for preparation in response to contingency operations throughout Afghanistan.
“Rehearsals such as theses help our soldiers stay fresh on operations,” said U.S. Army Capt. Anthony Leon, tactical commander for Dark Horse’s portion of the exercise. “It reinforced notification procedures, security, communication and casualty care.”
Upon arrival to the exercise scene, Dark Horse troops established communications and treated simulated casualties, Leon added. Keeping constant communications with higher echelons to prepare for a battle hand off with Delta Company.
The Black Knights’ portion of the exercise was twofold – set up a security perimeter for a second known threat on the battlefield, while keeping civilians at bay, and assisting the explosive ordnance disposal unit assigned to Black Jack while they assess the new threat, said 1st Lt. Brodey Gibson, Delta Company’s executive officer.
“In addition to maintaining security and performing inner cordon, Black Knights controlled the lanes with the EOD while they performed their tactical duties,” added Gibson from San Antonio, Texas.
Gibson said his troops learned valuable, new skills and concepts during the exercise. While they had never trained on some of the tactics involved, the exercise helped the Black Knights response team discover areas they need to work in and become more proficient at.
Leon agreed, saying troops may have learning curves to break through with exercises such as this one. Making mistakes is good during training so those mistakes are not made during a real operation.
“The exercise helps soldiers discover some of their bad habits, so we can mitigate them,” said Leon from Milwaukee, Wis.
Gibson is having his soldiers continue to train on the new concepts learned during the exercise, and regarded the errors as a part of learning while commenting “There is always room for improvement."
Overall, Leon and Gibson both said the exercise went well and their soldiers are better prepared for future contingency operations.