FirstSpear

Archive for the ‘Forces Focus’ Category

10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Cold Weather Training

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

Over the course of this winter, “The Originals” of 10th SFG(A) have conducted a wide variety of cold weather and mountaineering training both at their home base of Ft Carson, CO and in at various locations in Europe.

Royal Marines Assault Engineers Conduct Sabotage And Denial Training In Norway

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

The Royal Marines are in the process of reshaping themselves as the “Future Commando Force” which looks an awful lot like becoming what they were in the 1970s and 80s, a light force of raiders from the sea.

45 Commando’s Assault Engineers conducted advanced demolition training in Norway at a facility which includes Norway’s state-of-the-art facilities that includes a train and 150ft ship. With an eye toward urban operations, they also conducted CQB training.

“We provide close combat engineering support to 45 Commando’s fighting companies and provide the ability to speedily conduct sabotage and denial of enemy assets (weapon systems, equipment, vehicles and vessels), infrastructure and routes,” said Colour Sergeant Ryan Selbie, of 45 Commando.

“Combat Assault Breachers operating within the Future Commando Force will be a key enabler to mission success.

“As the corps’ method of entry, demolition (sabotage and denial) and counter-explosive ordnance specialists, we bring a unique and invaluable skills set to the FCF small-team construct.

See the full report at www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2020/february/24/200224-arctic-assault-engineers.

US Army Reactivates V Corps

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Army announced today the activation of an additional corps headquarters, called Fifth Corps (V Corps), which will be located at Fort Knox, Ky.

The V Corps Headquarters will consist of approximately 635 soldiers, of which approximately 200 will support an operational command post in Europe on a rotational basis. The Corps Headquarters is projected to be operational by the fall of 2020.

“Combatant commanders know they can count on highly-trained and ready Army forces as they implement the National Defense Strategy around the world,” said Gen. James McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army. “The activation of an additional Corps headquarters provides the needed level of command and control focused on synchronizing U.S. Army, allied, and partner nation tactical formations operating in Europe. It will enhance U.S. Army Europe and U.S. European Command as they work alongside allies and partners to promote regional stability and security.”

The establishment of V Corps enables the Army to fulfill requirements of the National Defense Strategy. It also supports a U.S. European Command request for increased command and control capability, and will support U.S. interests, allies and partners in the region.

The V Corps’ history dates back to 1918, when the unit was activated during World War I during combat in France. Later, it took part in the World War II D-Day invasion and liberation of Europe.

Currently, the Army has three corps headquarters: I Corps, located at Joint Base Lewis- McChord, Washington; III Corps, located at Fort Hood, Texas; and XVIII Airborne Corps, located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. V Corps will be the Army’s fourth headquarters.

820th Base Defense Group

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Main videographer, stylized motion graphics, and editing by Tech. Sgt. Jacqueline Marshall.

Second videographer Staff Sgt. Jon Alderman.

Airborne b-roll courtesy of Senior Airman Kyle Saunders via DVIDS.

Security Forces Squadron of the Future: Creating More Effective Defenders

Friday, December 20th, 2019

RAF CROUGHTON, United Kingdom (AFNS) —

RAF Croughton is at the forefront of innovation, helping create the most effective defenders in the Air Force.

The 422nd Security Forces Squadron has been selected to undergo a six-month trial in a complete revitalization of the squadron.

“Security forces senior leaders recognized the need to overhaul security forces squadrons,” said Senior Master Sgt. Nicholas Whitney, 422nd SFS Defense Force Sustainment Flight superintendent. “We needed to capitalize on utilization of our resources and support operational function. Basically, aligning the forces for optimal performance.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein commissioned this idea under the Year of the Defender initiative to focus on training readiness, modernizing the force enterprise-wide and improving quality of life with eight-hour shifts. Squadron of the Future began at RAF Croughton Sept. 1, concentrating on providing defenders with more training opportunities, protected time off, and reorganizing the unit structure into a leaner, more efficient system.

“The biggest takeaway for me is the decentralized command relationship for the master sergeants, … the (noncommissioned officer) tier and down,” said Capt. Alexander Parsons, 422nd SFS operations officer. “It is really empowering those in junior-leadership levels to make decisions at the tactical level. Whereas in a traditional chain-of-command hierarchy, the decisions are elevated and made at a higher level. That is not the focus here. I want my Airmen and my NCOs to be empowered to make those decisions even at the lowest level possible. That frees up the senior leadership within the squadron to focus more on the strategic, operational and longer-term objectives.”

For 18 years, Air Force security forces squadrons followed the U.S. Army doctrine of separating the squadron into sections, S1 through S5: Commander Support Staff (S1), Intelligence Flight (S2), Operations and Training Flight (S3), Logistics and Resources Flight (S4), and Installation Security, Plans and Programs (S5). The new test program has removed these classifications and restructured the squadron to be more effective with streamlined communication transitioning to a three-system operations flight, a sustainment flight and command support staff.

With the implementation of Squadron of the Future, the biggest quality-of-life improvement is that off-duty time is secured.

“We started this back in September and we have not once brought anyone in from protected time off,” Whitney said. “When the flight is on their protected time off, no one in the unit is allowed to bring someone in unless the commander approves it. It is equivalent to crew rest.”

Defenders at RAF Croughton also increased their monthly training days from four to six. Likewise, trainers work alongside defenders to assist in training needs.

“Previously when we had to go to training, people generally drag their feet,” said Tech. Sgt. Corey Southard, 422nd SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of training. “Now you have a trainer embedded amongst your flight. People are more receptive to it. They have someone with them who’s their trainer. It’s twofold – the quicker they train you, the quicker you get out or go off to bigger and better things.”

The Squadron of the Future concept is being tested at 14 different security forces squadrons across the Air Force, at least one in each major command. Monthly conference calls with senior leaders bring Airmen together to talk about the progress and give feedback.

“Our senior leaders at the headquarters level are really taking care of the defenders out on the ground,” Whitney said. “In 18 years, this is a whole new change, but it’s a change for the right reasons. It is making us a more lethal career field by giving us more time to do training. That’s a lot of time not only to take care of our annual training plan requirements, but it also allows us to focus on the things that may be specific to RAF Croughton. It’s making us more lethal defenders, because you never know when the next threat’s going to come.”

RAF Croughton is the only test base in U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa.

By Airman 1st Class Jennifer Zima, 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

Royal Marines Unleash Heavy Weapons During Training On Salisbury Plain

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Royal Marines unleashed their heavy weapons and armoured vehicles to assault ‘enemy’ positions during battles on Salisbury Plain.

Armed to the teeth and backed by Viking and Jackal vehicles, 45 Commando led an assault through Berrill Valley, pushing their adversary back across villages and bridges using some of their most potent anti-armour weaponry. 

Ten different pockets of resistance were routed in a day-long assault, as the commandos tackled undulated terrain and driving rain in Wiltshire, ahead of stepping off on deployments in the jungle, desert and Arctic in the next few months and into next year.

It was a chance for the heavy weapons experts, the Fire Support Group (FSG), of the Arbroath-based unit to test their machine guns, grenade machine guns and Javelin anti-tank weaponry on the battlefield.

The FSGs and X-Ray Company were transported into location using the Vikings to a site near the enemy before, with ruthless efficiency, gaining the upper hand during assaults.

With the FSG using their heavy weapons, laying down supressing fire in positions flanking enemy targets, X-Ray tested their close combat abilities, working through the valley and into the village of Imber – a settlement abandoned in 1943 to make way for training for the invasion of Europe in World War Two.

This was the fiery crescendo of the tactical phase of Exercise Blue Steel and Exercise Viking Warrior, which started with live firing, where FSGs from around 3 Commando Brigade gathered to blow off the cobwebs on the ranges.

“It’s important to shake out when we can to improve our ability to conduct those operations and avoid skill fade,” said Captain Oli Crow, Officer Commanding of 45 Commando Fire Support Groups.

“Each commando has a selection of FSGs which are a part of each close combat company and they provide the direct fire support capability to enable close combat troops to engage the enemy.

“It goes back to fighting a near peer enemy. You can expect them to have heavy armour which is a far cry from the previous decade when they haven’t.

“We have to ensure we can combat such a threat. It’s a really important aspect. We can’t predict what will happen but there are adversaries out there with high-tech equipment that matches or surpasses our own, so need to clearly know how to combat it.”

The marines cleared through woodland, hamlets and into Imber before taking back two strategically vital bridges from the enemy.

They moved on Vikings across a 10km area, each time with the FSG providing firepower to X-Ray’s commandos before they committed to the decisive assaults.

After being on the ranges, this was about perfecting their skills and offering the chance to work alongside armoured vehicles.

“Our role is to provide support to the troops from a nearby position. We’ll suppress a target from a distance, so we’ve got stand-off from their weapons systems and capabilities,” said anti-tank expert Marine Lewis Boateng of Zulu Company’s Fire Support Group.

“Once we’ve supplied that suppressive rate of fire that’s when the troops sweep through into positions.

“We’re due to go to the jungle in two weeks’ time. We haven’t done any anti-tanks for a while, so it’s great to blow off the cobwebs.”

Major Sam Hughes, Officer Commanding of X-Ray Company, was pleased to put his commandos through their paces.

He said: “Sitting on the range is one thing. Doing that in the wind and rain we’ve experienced this week in a tactical scenario, working with those vehicles, is huge. Hence why it’s really important to come together.

“The exercise has gone really well. It’s about recording what we’ve learnt. We’re about to go in to more traditional mountain training which is more on foot. Probably less of the heavy weapons and vehicles but that’s different skills. 

“So we will combine the training we’ve done here and the mountain training when we go to Norway in January for a three-month deployment doing Arctic training when we will have the Vikings, we will have the heavy weapons. It’s about taking forward the skills we’ve got.”

Published by Royal Navy.

Batteries Not Included

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

Security Forces at Minot AFB, in North Dakota conduct an equipment layout.

75th Ranger Regiment: A Day in the Life of a 2nd Battalion Ranger

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

I can’t think of a better way to kick off your Monday morning.

A day in the life of U.S. Army Rangers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, as they hone the skills needed to succeed in the world of Special Operations. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, August 2019. (U.S. Army video by Sgt. Jaerett Engeseth)

Rangers Lead the Way!