News: 3rd BCT, 82nd ABN Div gets back to basics with JOAX
Story by Sgt. Derek Kuhn
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Paratroopers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, conducted a Joint Operations Access Exercise to test the Brigade’s ability to jump into a hostile environment and conduct combat operations on Fort Bragg, Feb. 14 - 16.
Also participating in the JOAX were Company M, 3rd Royal Canadian Regiment and the Air Force which provided the air support for the exercise.
“The JOAX was meant to showcase the brigade’s ability to conduct a forcible entry into an airfield, seize initial assault objectives, and expand the lodgment to allow for follow on forces to continue operations,” said Maj. Jason Brown, the Public Affairs Officer for 3rd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division.
Brown said the JOAX was essential in helping the Paratroopers get back to doing what they do best.
“We have found that over the last nine years that our Army has been at war, some of our basic infantry skills have begun to erode,” Brown said. “So by doing this [exercise], we are getting back to basics.”
With an exercise like the JOAX, 3rd BCT really wanted to up the complexity by having a lot of moving parts, said Maj. Michael Owens, a Fire Support Officer for 3rd BCT, 82nd ABN Div.
“We really wanted to maximize the training value to the soldiers [involved],” Owens said. “We were looking for new ways to challenge them.”
Some of the events used to challenge the Paratroopers were an airborne infiltration with more than 1,700 paratroopers jumping, a Non-Combatant Evacuation exercise, and some key leader engagements, Brown said.
An exercise as large as the JOAX is bound to have some hiccups, but the positive aspects of the JOAX were evident, Brown said.
“Our non-commissioned officer leadership really shined during the JOAX,” Brown said. “They [the NCOs] really proved that they are the backbone of the Army and the brigade.” Their expertise led to “our Paratroopers knowing how to shoot, move and communicate better than any other troopers in the world,” the Milford, Mich., native added.
Owens who agreed with Brown’s assessment of the JOAX, offered his own view of the exercise.
“Overall it was a very good exercise,” Owens, a native of Jeffersonville, Ohio, said. “The point of exercises like this is to learn and get better, and I think that happened at every level.”
“We are equipped, trained and ready to do any mission our nation calls on us to do at any time,” Brown said of the Paratroopers of 3rd BCT, 82nd ABN Div.