With warning orders reportedly issued, the first U.S. Army brigade combat team (BCT) to be equipped with the “Capability Set 13” networking hardware, the 4th Brigade of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, will soon complete its pre-deployment training workup at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Ft. Polk, La. While three of the 10th Mountain Division’s brigades are based at Ft. Drum, N.Y., the 4th Brigade is coincidentally home-stationed at Ft. Polk.
According to John Beckwith, a public affairs officer specialist at Ft. Polk, the expansive JRTC training complex provides units with a wide variety of “lanes” training to prepare soldiers for overseas deployment, with 22 different villages and role players to provide an optimal decisive action training experience.
The brigade is currently preparing for its likely deployment with a Security Force Advise and Assist Brigade (SFAAB) mission, offered Lt. Col. Alan Boyer, commander of the brigade’s 2-30 Infantry Battalion. Boyer emphasized how the CS13 network will facilitate SFAAB operations, ensuring situational awareness of SFAAB team operations over extended areas while ensuring their ability to coordinate operational support when necessary.
A recent weekend afternoon saw elements of the 4th Brigade’s 2-4 Infantry Battalion conducting simultaneous SFAAB operations across a widely dispersed operational area. While some elements of Charlie Company were facilitating a “key leader engagement” in one JRTC village, approximately 10 kilometers back down the road the bulk of the company’s third platoon were using their MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (MATVs) to escort a small convoy of HMMWV-based Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police forces through JRTC’s Turani village.
The tactical scenario featured engagement of the column by opposing force elements, mandating the application of supporting fires – including Apache helicopter support – and subsequent coordination of casualty Medevac by UH-60 medical helicopter.
The Capability Set 13 network allowed the platoon to report its status to the company and higher levels through the “Nett Warrior” ensembles provided to squad and platoon level leaders.
4/10 Mountain entered the “force on force” phase of its JRTC rotational training March 25, 2013.
Meanwhile, Capability Set 13 is also being fielded to 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, at Ft. Drum, N.Y., with the expectation that they will be the second brigade to deploy with the integrated network.