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    Oklahoma National Guard 45th Field Artillery Brigade prepares forces in warfighter exercise

    Oklahoma National Guard 45th Field Artillery Brigade prepares forces in warfighter exercise

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Kasey Phipps | The sun sets over the Oklahoma Army National Guard, 45th Field Artillery Brigade’s...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Brigette Waltermire 

    Oklahoma National Guard

    CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – More than 180 Soldiers from the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Field Artillery Brigade (FAB) participated in Warfighter 18-5 (WFX), a complex, continuous command and control exercise at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, near Edinburgh, Indiana, June 5 thru June 14, 2018.

    The Soldiers coordinated with the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division (ID), the primary training audience of the exercise, to effectively incorporate fires and field artillery into the 34th ID’s operations.

    “The 45th FAB’s mission here is to be the field artillery headquarters for the 34th ID,” said Col. Elmer Holt, commander 45th FAB. “This is a really unique training opportunity for us. We don’t have a division headquarters in Oklahoma, so this exercise gives us the experience of having that guidance and interaction.”

    "This was the first time the 45th FAB has worked under the division level rather than at a lower echelon during a warfighter exercise," said Maj. William Rogers, operations officer for the 45th FAB. "Working through these processes allows the brigade to apply their training and standardize their processes as they execute the mission for the 34th ID."

    “This exercise gets the Soldier working in their actual career fields,” said 45th FAB Command Sgt. Maj. Robby Brite. “It’s hands-on and right up our alley at the brigade level. The field conditions, systems and critical thinking of this exercise is exactly what we’d be doing in real missions.”

    For many Soldiers, WFX 18-5 was their first ever exercise and provided valuable knowledge and experience in not only their career fields, but also in cooperating with other units at higher levels.

    “This is nothing like I expected,” said Pvt. Fransisca Ugarte, a supply specialist in the 45th FAB who recently enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard. “I’ve been here and there helping with anything that’s needed. In training, we went through basic supply principles, but here, we’re learning it hands-on at the brigade level. It’s really cool to see how we fit in, and I’m looking forward to more training like this.”

    Rogers stated that one of the most important objectives for this initial integration with the division had to do with technology and communications equipment setup. Overall, the brigade has been able to perform their counter fires role through fires, radar, air defense artillery, and intelligence as a component of the division.

    “We’re really able to understand how we fit in at a division level,” said Capt. Michael Evans, 45th FAB's liaison officer. “We’re seeing and working the big picture where the Air Force and infantry are all members of the same joint team. As the exercise has progressed, we’re integrating and communicating better and more effectively.” Evans served as the direct line of communication between the 45th FAB and 34th ID while working in the 34th ID’s tactical operations center (TOC).

    The exercise tested participating units at various staff levels, from sustainment and logistics to intelligence, operations and signal. Each decision ultimately created an immediate and measurable result on the virtual battlefield.

    “When doing our own training, we do our best to simulate command and control,” said Holt. “Unfortunately, that normally means there aren’t realistic consequences for the decisions and actions we make. An exercise like this truly emulates the depths of execution and planning it takes. It’s good for all of us at all levels to understand that everything doesn’t always go as planned.”

    The exercise also requires Soldiers to quickly and successfully meet the security challenges of the present and future environment by maximizing resources, prioritizing capabilities and enhancing the readiness of the total force. Ultimately, Warfighter and exercises like it contribute to more effective and efficient mobilizations.

    “Readiness is important because what we do is important to the defense of our country,” said Holt. “We want to make sure that we can expertly perform the missions we’re called on to perform, at any time we’re tasked.”

    Holt finished by saying that he is proud of his Soldiers for their dedication to the unit and mission, despite long hours and complex scenarios.

    “Soldiers at the brigade have performed in an absolutely brilliant manner,” said Holt. “Their planning and execution has been on point. As a commander, it’s humbling to watch them work relentlessly 24 hours a day.”



    Date Taken: 06.15.2018
    Date Posted: 07.12.2018 16:54
    Story ID: 281340
    Location: EDINBURGH, IN, US 

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