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First Army shapes full spectrum simulation exercise PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Robert Saxon   
Monday, 03 October 2011 08:42
LEAVENWORTH, Kan.-Fingers tap away furiously on computer keyboards while friendly and mock enemy maneuver graphics flash across large screens as National Guardsmen from Kansas participate in a 'first-of-its-kind' exercise designed to test the full range of their combat leadership and Soldier skills.

More than 350 Soldiers from the Kansas Army National Guard's 35th Infantry Division headquarters are participating in a newly developed seven-day simulations exercise labeled an FSX, or Full Spectrum Exercise, at the headquarters building here, September 20-26.

Advisors from First Army, headquartered at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., are on hand to ensure the exercise remains focused on preparing the 35th ID for potential CEF (Contingency Expeditionary Force) missions.  Over the past few years, the majority of reserve component training was focused exclusively on preparing the units for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan for Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.

Exercise director and commander of First Army Division East, Maj. Gen. Kevin R. Wendel says the new FSX allows the command to execute the full range of military operations in a realistic, joint, interagency and coalition environment.  "As the exercise director, my job is to help the division
achieve their training objectives and to influence and shape the exercise by working with the team of senior mentors, trainers and support teams."

First Army oversaw the development of the new simulations training exercise as part of its mission to train and validate reserve component forces prior to an overseas deployment.

Preparations for the FSX began in February 2010 with a series of developmental conferences where representatives from First Army, the Mission Command Training Program (MCTP) at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the 35th ID and the National Guard Bureau met to design the scenario, identify personnel requirements and create the simulations facility layout.  More than 1000 Soldiers, Department of Defense civilians and contractors are taking part in the exercise.

The new FSX is intended to train military operations across the full spectrum of potential missions from high intensity conflict and counterinsurgency (COIN) to stability operations using a simulations
environment.  "In the last two years we have been in stability operationsand COIN operations in both theaters of Afghanistan and Iraq," says David Ruggere, First Army's lead project officer for the exercise.  "Though our soldiers are really skilled at that, the one skill that a lot of maneuver. Soldiers and staff have gotten away from is major combat operations-a gunfight-what used to be called a Warfighter Exercise (WFX)."

The WFX is a much older offensive and defensive combat simulation which traditionally pitted a corps or division-sized unit against an opposing force (OPFOR) in an intense force-on-force simulated battle.

Exercise control team chief, Mr. James Dumolt, MCTP, says the FSX is the first of its kind in the Army and has expanded simulations beyond the WFX in terms of functionality, "What we have added on to that is what we call PMESII: political, military, economic, social, infrastructure and information aspects of the operational environment.

According to Dumolt, the Army is transitioning back to a focus on the combat skills trained during the WFX.  "We've been doing a lot of Mission Rehearsal Exercises (MRX) in the last few years oriented towards Southwest Asia, and really doing a rehearsal to get us ready to go down range to Afghanistan and to Iraq.  We are taking what we learned at the rehearsals, where PMNESII was developed, and add that on to the Warfighter Exercise to create an FSX."

Another "first" for this exercise is the addition of an active component unit as a training audience with the 35th ID in a simulations exercise.  The 555th Engineer Brigade from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., is providing unit members to conduct simulated engineer operations in support of the 35th
ID plan.

Lt. Col. Dave Johnson, chief of plans (G-5) for the 35th ID says it's not normal for a National Guard legacy warfighter exercise to have an active component unit participate. "We've broken some new ground in that aspect as well.  We're learning from each other.  They have a really top notch team and they bring a lot to the exercise that we wouldn't have had otherwise."

The Soldiers and leaders associated with the 35th ID exercise see this new full spectrum simulation as a unique challenge and a means of shaping training for future reserve component units.

"This is really the proof of principle test for the Army on the FSX construct as well as the National Guard variant of the FSX.  In the long run, we hope that our lessons learned will help others," says Johnson.  "If we come out of this as a better unit and the Army learns from our actions, and in some cases mistakes, then we've all won and we are all better for it."

Maj. Gen. Wendel echoes those comments and views the new FSX as a critical step forward in First Army's efforts to better prepare reserve component units for a wide variety of future missions and deployments.  "Exercises like these significantly increase readiness and provide opportunities for
leaders at every level to sustain and improve critical warfighting skills."


MULTIMEDIA RELEASE: Braley Welcomes Quad Cities Honor Flight to Washington PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 11:19

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) welcomed the 16th Honor Flight from the Quad Cities to the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Honor Flight of the Quad Cities, a non-profit organization, was formed in 2008 to provide an opportunity for Quad Cities-area veterans to visit Washington to see historical sites and memorials at no cost to the veterans.

CORRECTED YouTube video of the event can be viewed here:

CORRECTED 1080p high-definition video can be downloaded here: 

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Honor Flight takes off on Thursday Sept 22nd PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Cathie Rochau   
Thursday, 22 September 2011 08:29

The 16th Honor Flight of the Quad Cities departs Thursday, September 22nd at 7 a.m. from the Quad City International Airport.  Guardians will arrive for check in at 5:00 a.m., followed by Veteran check-in at 5:30 a.m. Once the guardians & veterans meet each other, they will proceed through the screening checkpoint and receive coffee & donuts on the concourse before boarding begins.

There will be one more for 2011 which will be held on November 3rd.

As always, the public is welcome to attend the return ceremonies at the airport at night.  The usual arrival time for the public is 9:30 – 10:00 pm., with the veterans processing through the exit around 10:15 – 10:30 p.m.

Camp Wright Servicemembers Honor Fallen Comrade, Remember 9/11 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by readMedia   
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 11:23

Soldiers from Riverton, Villa Park Among Those Observing Solemn Day in Afghanistan

KUNAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN (09/16/2011)(readMedia)-- Servicemembers at Camp Wright in Kunar Province spent a solemn day commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and celebrating the life of a fallen comrade Sept. 11.

Members of the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), the Illinois National Guard's 1-14th Illinois Agribusiness Development Team, the 102nd Forward Surgical Team and the 744th Engineer Company, Route Clearance Patrol 46 were among the military units participating in the day's events.

At 23 years old, U.S. Army Spc. John Cowgill, of Riverton, a security force member for the 1-14th Illinois Agribusiness Development Team.

Those events of a decade ago had a deep impact on who he is and on the direction his life has taken.

"Ten years ago I never thought I would be spending this day in Afghanistan," said Cowgill. "I still feel anger over what happened, but I've learned that anger can be channeled toward helping people and making a difference. That is what I see today and that is what makes me proud to be here."

A ceremony at the Camp Wright dining facility began the day of remembrance. Two members of the Kunar PRT, who were in New York on the day of the terrorist attacks, shared their experiences with those who had gathered.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Darlene Croston, of Binghamton, N.Y., an administrative specialist with the Kunar PRT, was working in New York as a nanny for a member of the New York Fire Department who was killed that day.

Croston said sharing those experiences was an important part of the occasion.

"Ten years [later], it might be easy to forget why we are here," she said. "Just as with any loss, time dulls the pain. It is important that we remember our goals so this country does not become an incubator for that type of terrorism again."

The ceremony concluded as an American flag, which was previously flown aboard the USS New York, was passed solemnly between enlisted servicemembers representing different units and branches of service.

The Cpl. Raphael Arruda Fitness Center in Afghanistan was dedicated during a separate ceremony later in the day.

U.S. Army Cpl. Raphael Arruda, of South Ogden, Utah, a combat engineer with the 744th Engineer Company, Route Clearance Patrol 46, was killed when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device during a combat patrol June 16.

Members of the 744th spoke of Arruda's love of physical fitness and said the dedication was a fitting tribute to the Soldier who grew up in Brazil and had recently received his U.S. citizenship.

U.S. Army Spc. Jonathan Hansen, of Layton, Utah, an operations specialist with the 744th, said his entire unit was behind the idea of the dedication.

"It started off as one person's idea, but everyone pitched in and it became a group effort," said Hansen. "All those who served with him will be happy to know his legacy is living on after we are gone. He would be very happy about this, but he would also be humbled. He would consider it a great honor."

A plaque bearing Arruda's name and the words "let's get swole" - a phrase he used to get others into the gym - was unveiled during the ceremony.

When night fell, residents of Camp Wright took to rooftops and high ground for an unobstructed view of the clear night sky. As illumination rounds lit the mountainside, someone spoke of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the ensuing War on Terrorism.

While many of the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of Camp Wright were well into their military careers on Sept. 11, 2001, others were just beginning their careers as junior-high students.

Illinois National Guard Infantry Soldiers Honor the Heroes of Baatan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by readMedia   
Friday, 16 September 2011 13:33

Story U.s. Army Spc. Christopher A. Garibay, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

MAYWOOD (09/12/2011)(readMedia)-- Soldiers from the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), including Col. Paul C. Hastings of St. Charles, commander of the 33rd IBCT, honored Soldiers who fought in the Battle of Bataan during World War II for the Maywood Bataan Day Organization's annual service Sept. 11 at Veterans Park in Maywood.

The Maywood Bataan Day Organization and the Village of Maywood jointly sponsored the event to bring awareness to the harsh conditions Soldiers endured during America's campaign in the Pacific in World War II.

Hastings, the keynote speaker for the event, honored the efforts of Soldiers in the past and stressed the importance of America's continued fight against terrorists today.

"I'm humbled and honored to pay tribute, collectively, to these heroes of Bataan; for those who gave so much and asked for nothing in return," said Hastings." "No American, no Filipino can ever, must never, forget."

Hastings said it was important for citizens to remember those committed to fighting in today's wars, having done so for over 10 years.

"Just as it was for the Greatest Generation, we bring the fight to the enemy - behind our flag is resolute purpose," he said. "To those we lost at the Fall of Bataan, and to those we lost after 9/11; we shall never forget."

Spc. Terron Carter, a Maywood native and a soldier from the 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Bowman Plainfield , the command sergeant major of the 33rd IBCT, honored the men of Bataan by placing a wreath on the 192nd Tank Battalion Memorial.

The 192nd, based in Maywood, was part of the Illinois National Guard's 33 rd Infantry Division, the predessor of today's 33rd IBCT.

The event included Guest Speaker Emilio O. Hildalgo, a retired colonel of the Judge Advocate Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and former Judge General of the Philippines Air Force. Hildalgo described in vivid detail the events surrounding the Battle of Bataan, and subsequently, what has been dubbed the Bataan Death March after Japanese forces captured Allied troops on April 9, 1942. It would not be until February 17, 1945 that Allied Forces would retake the Bataan Peninsula.

"Out of the 89 who left Maywood for the Philippines in 1941, only 43 came home," said Hildalgo. "We do not have any regrets. We have fought for a good and just cause. We have done our duty for God and Country."

The memorial event also paid tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and passengers of Flight 93. First responders were also commemorated at the event.

Edwin H. Walker IV, Vice President of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization, said it was humbling to know people who were committed to serving in America's Armed Forces today as well as honoring those who served in the past.

Special guests included the U.S. Navy Great Lakes Ceremonial Band, American Legion Posts, VietNow Color Guard, local elected officials and veterans.

photo 1) U.S. Army photo by and PFC Alisha D. Grezlik, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs/ Spc. Terron Carter, a Maywood native and a soldier from the 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery Regiment, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Bowman of Plainfield, the command sergeant major of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, honor the men of Bataan by placing a wreath on the 192nd Tank Battalion Memorial.

photo 2) U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher A. Garibay, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs/ Col. Paul C. Hastings of St. Charles, commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, bows his head in prayer during the Maywood Bataan Day Annual Memorial Service in Maywood Sept. 11 at Maywood. The event sought to remember the efforts of Soldiers in the past, present and future.

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