226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade concludes Warfighter exercise
Master Sgt. Richard E. Moore (left), operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge, works with Master Sgt. Robert L. Haigler (right), nightshift movement and maneuver noncommissioned officer-in-charge, planning missions and coordinating units in preparation for Warfighter 17-01, a joint force exercise hosted by the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia. (Army Photo edited by Staff Sgt. Christopher Davis, 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade)
Mobile, Alabama. – Over the course of the last four weeks, members of the 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade were engaged in Warfighter 17-01, a joint force exercise hosted by the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
The 226th MEB was one of several brigades that represented the commands under the 3rd Infantry Division in a simulated combat exercise. Soldiers learned to be adaptable to scenarios that called upon their skills to direct multiple units under their command in a variety of combat situations.
"You exceeded the expectations of many," said Vickers to the 226th MEB's final formation at Fort Stewart before loading the buses for the return trip to Mobile. "You met all of mine."
Vickers said that the 226th MEB possesses all the trademarks of a great organization and as a team showed the desire and effort to do better every day.
Soldiers had to learn to adapt and overcome adversity disassemble their security area command post with the approaching Hurricane Matthew. Once the area was cleared, they met the challenge from Vickers to reassemble the operations center to full mission readiness within a 24 hour period.
"Our people were phenomenal," said Staff Sgt. Mark Miller, S-6 Server Team Supervisor. "The 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade was the first group in the exercise to have full communications up and running before anyone else."
Hurricane Matthew's impact in the training area provided the 226th MEB with real-world challenges in securing and re-securing their communications with their subordinate units and higher command, establish an operational command center and run all their combat systems. The 24 hour period had never been tried before, but the Soldiers accomplished the task laid before them.
"In the future, we will take all those lessons learned and those SOPs from this year and start refining them to incorporate what we have learned from this," said Master Sgt. John Higdon, operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge for movement and maneuver.
Higdon said the Warfighter exercise was a great opportunity for Soldiers to learn to think critically, take initiative and learn how to coordinate actions between operational sections during a mission. He also said this helps future NCOs to learn the operational picture on a larger scale, to know how to assist battalions and companies when deployed in a joint-force environment.
For junior officers new to the 226th MEB, Warfighter 17-01 was an opportunity to engage in battle drills to improve at providing information and coordinating all the assets at the brigade's disposal to ensure mission success.
Capt. Jessica Bachman, an intelligence officer in the operations section, said the battle drills helped these junior officers understand the importance of commander's critical information requirements so the commander can make the best informed command decision. It takes all the sections working together to accomplish this.
The experience helped them to be able to support defense support to civil authorities (DSCA) missions - like responding to a hurricane landfall - and combat operations overseas in support of higher commands.
"I believe the decision-making processes that we implemented will help us tremendously for DSCA, because there will be things that happen and missions assigned that we will have to quickly staff and execute," said Vickers.
Soldiers of the 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade connect camouflage netting to cover a Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter (DRASH) tent system as their operations center for Warfighter 17-01, a joint force exercise hosted by the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The Soldiers had to dissemble the tent system in preparation of Hurricane Matthew, then reassemble it within a 24 hour window. (Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Davis, 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade)