JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – For every soldier on patrol, there is a staff of soldiers providing mission-essential support by maintaining communication and ensuring critical battlefield information is disseminated.
The brigade staff of the 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, took part in a ground-breaking staff training exercise with the Republic of Korea’s 17th Infantry Division during a Korean War-fighter Exercise in Bucheon, South Korea, Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.
The exercise was the first time a U.S. Army brigade had operational command of two ROK infantry battalions, while working under the leadership of an ROK army infantry division.
A division headquarters is responsible for providing purpose and direction through a unified vision, intent, and operational guidance to its subordinate units, so ensuring proper communication was maintained between U.S. and ROK forces was crucial to the success of the exercise.
The exercise provided a unique opportunity for the 2-2 SBCT soldiers to test their ability to come together with an allied force to build and implement a plan for combat operations.
“Training with the ROK is crucial as we continue to focus our effort toward the Pacific Rim,” said Col. Louis Zeisman, 2-2 SBCT commander and a native of Fayetteville, N.C. “We have been partners with the Republic of Korea for over 60 years and this alliance has been crucial in bringing security and safety to the region.”
The Lancers are assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., which plays a crucial role in the U.S. shift to the Pacific as the largest military installation on America’s Western Seaboard.
“We worked closely beside our ROK counterparts to make sure that any differences due to language and terminology didn’t keep us from issuing and receiving orders in a timely manner,” said Capt. Walton Gouldin, a Warsaw, Va., native and the daytime battle captain for 2-2 SBCT during the exercise.
As the daytime battle captain, Gouldin was responsible for planning, coordinating, supervising, and maintaining communication flow throughout the command post to ensure the successful accomplishment of all assigned missions.
“Our ROK counterparts did a very good job of making sure we fully understood the intent of what they wanted from us, and we [made] sure the same took place for the battalions that were subordinate to us,” added Gouldin.
The Lancer soldiers who participated in the exercise built systems to provide accurate and correct information so they could ensure missions and deadlines given to them by the 17th Infantry Division were successfully carried to completion, and on time.
“The biggest thing was timeliness,” said Gouldin. “We would make sure we would touch base with our counterparts at least an hour before something was due just to make sure that we knew exactly what they wanted, and it also allowed for a little refinement. If they needed something in a certain form or fashion, then that is what we did.”
The historic exercise tested the staff and better prepared them to operate effectively in an array of scenarios.
“I know my soldiers were able to take away lessons learned from their ROK counterparts that allow them to think outside the box. [They] will be better mentally equipped to face challenges in the future,” said Zeisman.
As the exercise came to an end, Zeisman was confident of his soldiers’ capabilities.
“I am so proud of my soldiers and everything they accomplished,” he said. “The training allowed us to continue to develop and grow adaptive leaders, and proves once again the soldiers of [2-2 SBCT] are ready to go to war and win no matter what the circumstances.”