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    Red Bulls lead the fight in Army's largest Warfighter

    Red Bulls lead the fight at largest warfighter

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper | Division commanding general Army Brig. Gen. Neal Loidolt of Brooklyn Park, Minn., and...... read more read more



    Story by 1st Lt. Melanie Nelson 

    34th Red Bull Infantry Division

    FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.- The 34th Red Bull Infantry Division lead the fight in the United States Army's largest Warfighter exercise ever conducted, marking the first time a division full-scale exercise includes a training audience of 10 brigades.

    The exercise replicates Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational operations in a full-spectrum contemporary operational environment.

    "A Warfighter is an eight-day simulated war," said Sgt. Maj. Robert Klinkner, chief operations sergeant for the exercise. "The intent is to stress the division staff sections to exercise their internal processes to ensure the commanding general has a continued common operating picture. It also forces the staff to provide the commanding general branch plans and sequences ensuring mission success."

    At the helm of the exercise is the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Neal Loidolt. The Rosemount, Minn.-based Headquarters, made up of 600 Soldiers, fills the roles of the division staff and warfighting functions. They conduct intelligence gathering, movement and maneuver, sustainment and everything in between.

    The exercise involves 2,500 service members from more than 20 units coming from 14 states which include: National Guard units from California, Colorado, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wyoming; Army Reserve units from California and Colorado; and active Army units from Fort Sill, Okla. and Fort Riley, Kan.

    The mission of the warfighter is to defeat a division tactical group and push them out of a fictitious country, to restore their local government and restore their essential services. The exercise itself consists of four days of active opposition, a one-day pause to discuss lessons learned, four more days of active opposition and a final after action review. The preparation for the exercise is more than two years in the making.

    Capt. Alvin Graham is the project officer for the warfighter and has been planning for the exercise since December 2012. Despite countless hours preparing to win the war, he knows that is not what a warfighter is about. "The object is not to win, but to learn," said Graham.

    Layer after layer of planning and learning went into this exercise, from synchronizing units to developing the geographical layout of the 34th Red Bull's main field site.

    "When we received the mission that we were going to attend Warfighter we went to the SOP (standard operating procedures), to see how to lay out our field site. But it had all the old Army tents. We had the new Army's Standard Integrated Command Post System," said Klinkner. "Sgt. Maj. Sulflow, Sgt. Maj. Karna and I started with a white piece of paper."

    The design the three Sergeants Major developed for the massive tent set up allows for the most positive flow of traffic and information. The unit tested the tent layout at Camp Ripley last September, and has since been praised for the effectiveness of their design. Klinkner says the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, has adopted the Red Bull's layout in their own standard operating procedure.

    "On the second of June, I walked onto a gravel parking lot," said Klinkner. "Eleven of us laid the floor in six hours, over the next three days, 30 Soldiers put up the tents while another 30 ran communication lines."

    The tents they set up are rapidly deployable high mobility tactical operations centers, simply called "Drash" by the Soldiers recognizing the company who makes them. The 34th Infantry Division tent system includes nearly 14,000 square feet of space.

    Within the tent system nearly a hundred battle command systems are setup, and close to 200 administrative computer systems are manned 24 hours a day.

    "This training event is designed to increase the division's capabilities in executing unified land operations in support of strategic national objectives," said Graham.

    For leaders in the command group this exercise replicates real war. In just a few hours the Warfighter Division Operations Officer, Col. Robert Intress made battlefield decisions for multiple brigades, answered media questions from role players and briefed real-life distinguished visitors, to include an elected official and general officers about the exercise.

    In addition to the simulated war, there is a real-life mission involved when it comes to taking care of 2,500 service members. Headquarters Battalion, 34th Infantry Division Commander Lt. Col. Carl Fassbender leads a 30 person mayor's cell, which works with Mission Training Complex Leavenworth, or MTC, to provide transportation, meals, lodging and care for the troops involved in the exercise.

    "Our mission is to track personnel, be the liaison to the medical section, oversee Red Cross message procedures and coordinate an awards program for the exercise," said Chief Warrant Officer, Hiedi Allen. She collects personnel status reports from all ten brigades and complies a daily personnel report.

    "The mayor's cell includes an operations section, logistic support, a chaplain team, a medical team, a joint visitor's bureau, transportation, billeting and command leadership," said Allen. For the Soldiers of the 34th and their brothers and sisters in neighboring National Guard units, the Warfighter completes their annual training requirement. For many it is an experience of a lifetime and one that will prepare them for real world scenarios in the future.

    “The successful completion of this DFSX is the culmination of more than a year of tireless preparation by all involved,” said Division Commanding General, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Neal Loidolt of Brooklyn Park, Minn. “In the end, with our enemy defeated, we can return home knowing that we are trained and ready for whatever the future holds, fully capable of sustaining the division’s celebrated legacy.”



    Date Taken: 06.24.2014
    Date Posted: 07.08.2014 21:51
    Story ID: 135568
    Hometown: BROOKLYN PARK, MN, US

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