News: I Corps welcomes re-focus to Asia-Pacific
Story by Sgt. Jacqueline Fennell
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - America’s Corps has shifted its focus and attention to the rebalancing mission of the U.S. Pacific Command, an area of operation that stretches across 16 time zones and is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population.
During a recent interview, I Corps Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, affirmed as troops draw down in Afghanistan, partnering with countries in the Pacific with increased, but shorter, exercises will help to maintain security, peace and stability.
I Corps welcomes the new shift in the future and presented capabilities to the USPACOM two weeks ago.
U.S. Navy, Command Master Chief Mark W. Rudes, senior enlisted adviser to the USPACOM commander, toured key elements here, Oct. 29, that will become valuable assets to the Asia-Pacific mission.
I Corps, Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, welcomed Rudes by showing him some of the capabilities that I Corps and JBLM have.
“What we bring is our ability to perform as a joint task force and a joint force land component command headquarters, something unique that no other Army unit in the area of responsibility can do,” added Troxell.
This pivot to the region was clarified during a press brief at the 2012 Association of the U.S. Army Conference in October.
“The realignment of forces will allow command headquarters, brigade combat teams and supporting elements to be available to the USPACOM commander without being forward based,” announced U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, during the conference.
I Corps collaborated with JBLM partners to exhibit technological advances from the individual Soldier level to the joint force level showcasing the means I Corps can achieve team-building goals with partnering countries.
The tour, led by Troxell, featured land and air resources enabling cost efficient, flexible, training environments without having to establish permanent infrastructure while offering immediate response if needed.
The Mission Command Training Center, debuted a live virtual gaming arena that can be used for training purposes, valuable to a resource-constrained environment.
“We wanted to show him that we can replicate the terrain, the language and realistic approach of what to expect and how it doesn’t cost nearly as much as appose to sending troops to an actual training area,” said Troxell.
David S. Nash, a technical support specialist at the Mission Command Training Center, provided Rudes with a synopsis of the HUMINT Control Cell, a part of the Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Tactical Proficiency Trainer program.
The HCC provides training for human and counter intelligence collectors including interaction with live avatars capable of speaking in a foreign language through interpreters for tactical proficiency.
“We are in the process of designing multiple PACOM-based HCC scenarios to support future training events,” said Nash. “Realistic intelligence simulations are critical to mission command training events, allowing organic intelligence Soldiers to write appropriate reports, develop collection plans and develop relationships with the rest of the staff.”
A Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise was also simulated using virtual reality to replicate the ground aspect of training for Rudes.
He sat in the seat of a virtual Stryker experiencing how if feels to maneuver the vehicle and drive it out of a simulated cargo bay.
In addition, he felt the drive capabilities of a real Stryker vehicle, operated by the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, while meeting soldiers of the SBCT.
So much simulated action created an appetite for further discussion with leadership.
Rudes met with Army senior enlisted advisors including Air Force and Marine Corps counterparts to talk about the rebalance of force posture in the USPACOM area during an afternoon luncheon.
“Rebalance does not mean that there will be a build up of permanent infrastructures or traditional deployments, but what it does mean are more rotational forces in the region,” explained Rudes.
A key factor will be the relationships established with the 36 nations in the Pacific.
Rebalance will involve “building partnerships and the ability to work together on security issues that will impact the region in the future,” said Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander, USPACOM, during a press brief to the American Forces Press Service last month.
Troxell further displayed ways I Corps has been able to work with partnering forces.
“We’ve established team-building and good rapport with our counterparts,” explained Troxell as he noted on the capabilities provided by the 62nd Airlift Wing. “One of Rudes’ key questions was the concern for “lift.”
“There are ways that we can save money and be more efficient in getting to where we need to be in the theater,” expressed Troxell.
Troxell said he intended to show Rudes, that I Corps is more than capable when it comes to the “means” of immediate mobility with the support of the 62nd Airlift Wing.
A static tour of the 48 C-17 Globemaster III Aircraft, demonstrated a Joint Precision Air Drop System, Operation Deep Freeze and Prime Nuclear Airlift Force missions said, 62nd Airlift Wing, Chief Master Sgt. Gordon Drake, who briefed Rudes about the C-17.
“Stryker Brigade Combat Teams and other I Corps units can be deployed rapidly and directly from JBLM rather than depending on airlift from other wings located world-wide,” said Drake. “This not only saves precious time but fiscal resources as well, since it costs $17,000 per flying hour to bring in an empty C-17 to mobilize a SBCT.”
“Other airlift aircraft, such as the C-5 can cost more than $45,000 per flying hour,” he added.
The 62nd Airlift Wing is the only Air Force wing certified to perform unique missions, said Drake.
“Our JPADS system increases air drop accuracy when resupplying combat units in the field and enhances safety for the warfighter on the ground,” explained Drake.
Aligning joint forces is an important factor for success in the Asia-Pacific.
“This shows us the way ahead and allows us to see that we are after the same priorities,” commented Troxell about collaboration already established with partners.
While the nation undergoes transition following an election, and as troops return to a re-focus in the Pacific, I Corps is, “Exactly in line with Rudes’ vision,” said Troxell.
"JBLM and I Corps will have a significant role in this historic shift,” said I Corps Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Robert Brown.
“We are not becoming part of USPACOM to perform a specific mission we will be prepared to do that if need be, but we need to be prepared to build partnerships,” concluded Troxell.
Rudes was appreciative of having the opportunity to visit JBLM and concluded the tour by saying, “JBLM is highly capable,” of contributing to USPACOM.