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NORTH FORT HOOD, Texas—Nearly 4,000 Soldiers and their associated vehicles and equipment from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Greywolf”, 1st Cavalry Division conducted their exercise evaluation, known as Pegasus Forge III, from Sept. 24 to Oct. 4.
The evaluation is part of the Brigade’s training and preparation for its upcoming National Training Center Rotation.
“Pegasus Forge III gave us, from Brigade down to small-unit level, the opportunity to see ourselves in space and time on the battlefield,” said Col. Kevin Capra, brigade commander. “This scenario allowed us the opportunity to test our systems and procedures and identify opportunities to improve across the board before we head to NTC.”
This was the culminating exercise for the Brigade. The companies began their training in July with crew qualifications and individual skills training, which paid dividends during the massive Brigade exercise.
“We have been focusing on night drivers training to prepare us for NTC,” said Capt. Tristan Laicer, commander of B Co. 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment. “Over half of my drivers and gunners are privates who have been in the Army for only about seven months. I am extremely proud of how they performed. We conducted several night movements and missions during this exercise and my Soldiers executed them without loss or damage to personnel or equipment.”
The individual training moved right into collective training and section and platoon gunnery qualification. Due to range fires, the timeline was compressed, and the tempo increased with Company’s conducting situational training exercises followed immediately by Pegasus Forge.
Pegasus Forge III was devised to mirror what the brigade could expect from a rotation through the training center. It included the integration of multiple enabler units such as aviation, chemical, cyber and military intelligence—the same units that will be supporting the Brigade at Fort Irwin.
Familiar to anyone who has spent even a little time in the Army were the two rival nations, Atropia and Donovia. The start of the scenario had Greywolf deploying into sector from a Forward Operating Base to deter further Donovian aggression against the U.S.-allied Atropian nation.
During the scenario the Brigade conducted multiple missions including a movement to contact, a defense and an attack as well as the seizure of a weapons of mass destruction facility.
“Nothing replicates NTC exactly,” said Lt. Col. Ed Kennedy commander of 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. “There’s the terrain of NTC, the automation of all the systems they have, but this was really the next best opportunity for us to prepare the brigade.”
Added to the challenge of the multiple missions was the constant threat of a “chemical attack” by the Donovian regime. The Brigade spent most of the exercise in Mission Oriented Protection Posture Level-2 (protective coat, pants and overboots) and occasionally had to go to MOPP Level-4 protection to include protective masks.
“We try to train as much as we can and prepare our Soldiers for fighting in a chemical environment,” said Laicer. “But when you don your protective gear and seal the hatch on the tank and then have to conduct an attack against a determined enemy, it is a whole different experience.”
Ultimately, the exercises purpose was to determine the strengths and the weaknesses within the Brigade’s systems and its tactics, techniques and procedures.
“They were stressed through multiple iterations of planning and executing different missions,” said Kennedy. “The combination of all of those different missions and their timing really stressed our systems, stressed our communications, stressed our logistics and helped us identify where we could improve and ways to make us better as a battalion and a brigade.”
After 10 days of conducting maneuver and mission command the brigade transitioned into a combined arms live-fire exercise. The purpose of such an exercise is to train on synchronizing fires from multiple weapons systems and massing effects on targets.
“CALFX requires multiple weapons platforms from Bradleys to tanks to attack aviation and indirect fire from mortars and artillery,” said Kennedy.
“It really helps visualize for the Soldiers in the unit the effects when we are able to bring all of our combat power to bear on the enemy.”
The next steps for the brigade are to take the lessons learned and adjust and apply them to the upcoming rotation to the National Training Center.
“We are a lethal, ready and resilient brigade,” said Capra. “Pegasus Forge gave us a baseline and we will spend the next few months before NTC improving upon what we have learned. That is the key. Are you better than you were yesterday? We are.”
|Date Posted:||10.07.2018 18:54|
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