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    416th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) and U.S. Marines build trust and confidence in first joint Civil Affairs training

    Soldiers from the 416th CA Bn. (Abn). conduct and area assessment of the damage to the simulated Philipipine city

    Photo By Capt. James Orth | Soldiers from the 416th CA Bn. (Abn). conduct and area assessment of the damage to the...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. James Orth 

    351st Civil Affairs Command

    SAN DIEGO - The 416th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) conducted its first joint training this summer with U.S. Marines of the 1st Civil Affairs Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California to test their joint humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities.

    The 416th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), a unit of the 351st Civil Affairs Command, is aligned with the Marines of 1st CAG to conduct civil affairs operations in support of commanders in the Pacific. This joint training solidified the alignment between the 416th CA Bn. (Abn.) and the U.S. Marines.

    The groundwork for the training began in 2014 as commanders from both units met to discuss the alignment and future training opportunities. At the time of the commander’s discussions, Company D, 416th CA Bn. (Abn.) was preparing for a National Training Center (NTC) rotation. The Marines integrated with the Soldiers for the rotation effectively executing joint civil military operations resulting in a very successful rotation for the battalion. Their success led to discussions to develop their own joint training.

    Planners from both the 1st CAG and 416th CA Bn. (Abn.) met over the course of several months to develop a humanitarian assistance and disaster response scenario training exercise based on a natural disaster affecting the Philippines to test the current capabilities of both the Marines and Soldiers.

    The Philippines has a long history of natural disasters. In 2014 alone, 11 out of 19 typhoons made landfall in the Philippines according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration. Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the country in 2013, was the strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall in recorded history and left a wave of destruction that the country is still recovering from to this day.

    “The main goal of the exercise was to give our leadership the opportunity to assess their companies in conducting Civil Affairs Operations in an austere environment replicating a humanitarian assistance and disaster response scenario”, said Capt. Anthony Kelsey, Plans Officer for the 416th CA Bn. (Abn.). “The U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General’s guidance is to focus on Phase 0 Shaping Operations that [would] build on host nation capacity in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response scenarios.”

    The planners developed a scenario where a Category 5 Super Typhoon makes landfall throughout the southern Philippines creating a humanitarian crisis devastating over 250,000 people, destroying key infrastructure and overwhelming the civil authorities. The Marines and Soldiers are requested by the Philippine officials to assist in the crisis and recovery efforts.

    The week-long training took place at Camp Pendleton’s Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT), a state of the art urban training facility which filled in as the devastated Philippine city in the scenario. Equipped with latest video technology, pyrotechnics, and audio systems, the IIT tested all the Marines and Soldiers’ natural senses as they executed their mission. Even the smell that is normally found in such devastation was replicated.

    The native Filipino role players spoke fluent Tagalog which added to the realism for the Marines and Soldiers. Native Tagalog speaking Soldiers and a recent Defense Language Institute graduate within the 416th CA Bn. (Abn.) were able to put their language skills and training to good use during the training.

    The Marines integrated seamlessly into the current 416th CA Bn. (Abn.) formations creating a fully functional joint civil affairs task force.

    “It was important to train with the Marines, because we can better understand how each branch works and share tactics to work cohesively,” said Pfc. Juan Martinez, Civil Affairs Specialist, Company A, 416th CA Bn. (Abn.). “It also breaks down the barrier between us and strengthens the idea that we are one force in one fight.”

    Once the Marines and Soldiers were fully integrated they were faced with 11 Situational Training Exercises designed to test their civil affairs capabilities supporting an impacted population after the devastating typhoon. The joint civil affairs teams rotated through STX lanes that tested their ability to conduct population assessment, key leader engagements, and site assessments. The joint civil affairs teams operated in an environment where they had to alleviate the human suffering, ensure security and stability, and equip the civil authorities with the capability to respond to the people.

    The native Filipino role players and the capabilities of the IIT provided the realistic challenges these civil affairs teams would face during a real world event.

    “The role players took their roles very seriously and made the experience genuine,” Martinez said. “The smell generators added a stimulating dynamic to add to the realism of the training.”

    Camp Pendleton provided access to the water treatment plant and solar farm, as part of the scenario’s damaged infrastructure, to further add to the realism and assess the unit’s capabilities.

    The work that planners put into making this training as realistic as possible helped both units with an accurate assessment of their key collective tasks and met the overall training objectives.

    They will build on this relationship supporting each other at future Marine exercises and Joint Readiness Training Center Rotation. It was truly a team effort that contributed to the success of this joint annual training.



    Date Taken: 07.07.2015
    Date Posted: 03.17.2016 23:50
    Story ID: 192757
    Location: CA, US

    Web Views: 849
    Downloads: 0