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    JBLM units prepare for ‘WMD component’ missions

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    Photo By Staff Sgt. Bryan Dominique | Two Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., based Soldiers look for enemy personnel in a...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Bryan Dominique 

    20th Public Affairs Detachment

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – In what was described as historic, Operation Gryphon Longsword brought to bear the capabilities of some 1,400 service members and three units for the first exercise of its kind.

    “In my 30 years in the Army, this exercise, from my observation, is the most complex operation I’ve seen performed by any unit at home station,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Fanelli, command sergeant major of the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.

    The 201st is one of three active duty BSFBs in the active Army, and for Operation Gryphon Longsword, they led the charge.

    Soldiers and equipment were spread across more than 200 miles of training area. The operation utilized the Yakima Training Center, the SATSOP Nuclear Facility in Elma, Washington, and JBLM as the command hub for operations.

    “When we decided to take this on, people said it’s too complicated, it’s too complex. I refuse to dumb it down,” said Col. Daniel E. Soller, commander of the 201st BSFB.

    “What may be new to some isn’t new to us, because we routinely train like this,” he added. “The way we fight is at the team level. We have to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

    The 201st BSFB isn’t a typical military unit that moves and fights as a collective. Small teams are often required to deploy individually to enable maneuver forces with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

    However, Gryphon Longsword was successful in integrating the capabilities of maneuver forces into an operation that was largely dependent on those enablers.

    “You [have to] integrate with maneuver,” said Soller. “To try and do it without maneuver is like trying to do rollover drills in chairs. You just don’t get the same sense.”

    One of Soller’s goals was to train platoon leaders on the capabilities his Soldiers bring to the fight.

    “What we have to be able to do is seamlessly integrate enablers into operations; ISR drives operations,” Soller said. “I talk to [maneuver] leaders out here and they tell me this is the best exercise they’ve ever done, because they’re able to tap into these enablers and drive these operations.”

    Ultimately though, the exercise was to certify the 201st BSFB as an Army contingency force capable of providing enablers to support an array of missions.

    The capstone event of the exercise brought infantryman from JBLM’s 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment and enablers from the 201st BSFB to the SATSOP Nuclear Facility.

    There, infantryman cleared the way for the 201st to collect intelligence on enemy activity, and exploit or eliminate a weapons of mass destruction threat.

    Joint Base Lewis-McChord has been building its capacity to serve as an expeditionary force for the Pacific theater as the U.S. looks to rebalance its focus to that area of the world.

    “There are potential missions in the Pacific that have a WMD component,” said Soller.



    Date Taken: 11.12.2014
    Date Posted: 11.13.2014 18:14
    Story ID: 147784

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