Modern Warfare Week

Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

US Paratroopers Kick-Off Exercise Super Garuda Shield with Trilateral Airborne Operations

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

BATURAJA, Indonesia — Paratroopers from 11th Infantry Division (Airborne), Tentara Nasional Indonesia and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force conducted trilateral airborne operations with the 36th Airlift Squadron during exercise Super Garuda Airborne 2022 in Baturaja, Indonesia on Aug. 3, 2022.

The operation is the kick-off event for Super Garuda Shield 2022. Part of Operation Pathways, Garuda Shield is a longstanding annual, bilateral military exercise conducted between the U.S. military and Indonesia National Armed Forces. The exercise reinforces the U.S. commitments to allies and regional partners, ensures joint readiness and bolsters interoperability to fight and win together.

The 2022 Garuda Shield exercise is significantly larger in scope and scale than previous exercises. Service members from Indonesia and the United States will be joined this year by those from Australia, Japan and Singapore. In addition to the active participants, Canada, France, India, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the United Kingdom are expected to join Super Garuda Shield as observer nations.

“We were really focusing on partnership,” said Lt. Col. Ben Wisnioski, assistant Army attaché, U.S. Defense Attaché Office Jakarta, Indonesia. “We focused on training, working with each other, and building significant rapport.”

Hundreds of distinguished visitors including Gen. Charles Flynn, commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific, watched as over 200 paratroopers jumped into the fields and dense tropical forests of Baturaja.

“It was the softest landing I’ve ever had,” said Wisnioski with a smile, as he pointed at his uniform, doused in thick mud.

The paratroopers then completed an airborne seizure, navigating through narrow bridges, marshes, and dense foliage to reach their objectives.

Following the parachute portion of the operation, representatives from the three armies participated in a wing exchange ceremony. Gen. Andika Perkasa, commander, Tentara Nasional Indonesia, and Lt. Gen. Kuzuki Ushijima, command chief of staff, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, pinned wings onto six U.S. Army paratroopers.

“We’re here for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Green, 2nd Platoon, Apache Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 11th Infantry Division (Airborne). “We’re just here to let our partners know we’re here to help. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

In addition to the ceremony Soldiers from the United States, Tentara Nasional Indonesia and Australian Army, showcased weapon systems to the senior leaders and distinguished visitors.

Sgt. Alexander Clarke, mortarman with 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Division, explained the functions and capabilities of the M224, 60mm Lightweight Company Mortar System.

“It’s just breaking down our capabilities and what makes them the best that we’ve got,” said Clarke. “I think we’re super grateful to be able to train alongside the [Tentara Nasional Indonesia] and get to know them better. It builds that cohesion.”

Super Garuda Shield provides opportunities for Department of Defense experimentation and joint collaboration. The exercise increases readiness of both for all participating nations. With focus on specific tasks, tactics and procedures to conduct combined arms maneuver, air assault, aviation and mission command.

By SGT Nicholle Salvatierra

Air Force Units Support Navy Valiant Shield Exercise

Monday, August 8th, 2022

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 505th Command and Control Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and Beale AFB, California, supported the U.S. Navy’s ninth iteration of exercise Valiant Shield 22.

VS field training exercises are biennial, joint exercises focused on enhancing integration between the U.S. forces by conducting joint domain operations at sea, on land, in air, and in cyberspace.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command headquarters staff forward deployed a joint-force headquarters to Andersen AFB, Guam, for the 12-day exercise.  VS 22 provided a venue to support the demonstration of USINDOPACOM’s forward presence in the Western Pacific, while supporting the test of current and new technologies and platforms, to advance critical areas such as multi-intelligence, artificial intelligence, and long-range fire experiments.

The exercise took place in the Joint Region Marianas area of operations including Palau, Naval Base Guam, Andersen AFB, and the off-shore Mariana Island Range Complex, with some training events also occurring in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The exercise balanced real-world assurance with competitive overmatch for the theater’s rapid procurement campaign strategy.

“This exercise was the perfect opportunity to conduct integrated deterrence, which was the cornerstone of our approach,” said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robb Chadwick, VS 22 Joint Exercise Control Group director.

For this year’s event, the USINDOPACOM commander sponsored the first ever live-fly kickoff of Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, best of breed demonstration, where the service components were given the opportunity to execute their own vision using current technology to turn concepts into reality.  JADC2 is the Department of Defense’s vision for a future command and control construct that connects the battlespace cross every domain. 

605th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Detachment 3, Airmen at the Common Mission Control Center, Beale AFB, informed the USAF’s approach to realizing its contribution to JADC2, the Advanced Battle Management System, during VS 22.  The CMCC’s direct support to combatant commanders provides the most comprehensive situational understanding of operations while allowing them to synchronize multi-domain effects. 

“These demonstrations are critical to the transformation and dissemination of targeting and intelligence information to achieve the goal of sensor-to-shooter connections,” said USAF Lt. Col. Mikita Brown, 605th TES, Det 3 commander, Beale AFB, California.

During the exercise, the CMCC enhanced real-world situational awareness by feeding the joint force through detecting, locating, tracking, and directing engagement of units at sea, on the land, in the air and in cyberspace.

The CMCC provided capabilities for improving critical C2 and battlespace awareness functions which include: over the horizon target custody across distributed C2 nodes, decreasing the time required for Electronic Order of Battle updates, and rapid dissemination of enemy locations from emerging and traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, or ISR, capabilities such as the MQ-9 Reaper and the Raytheon Multi-Program Testbed, or RMT-727. 

“The CMCC’s Open Mission Architecture was critical to allow the correlation of multi-intelligence data to the U.S. Army Multi-Domain Task Force and U.S. Marines Corps Expeditionary Fire Battalions,” said Brown. “The CMCC successfully conducted operational test of the operational prototype to identify areas of acceleration while measuring the accuracy provided by its machine-to-machine technology during complex ISR collection and targeting problem sets centered on USINDOPACOM’s larger JADO [joint all-domain operations] initiative.”

Brown continued, “Valiant Shield 22 made vital steps forward for both JADC2 stakeholders, allowing them to see advanced demonstrations in an operationally realistic environment.  Incorporating CMCC technology into a modernized C4I [command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence] architecture expanded operational options to disseminate timely access of exquisite ISR feeds into multi-domain CTPs [Common Tactical Pictures] and CIPs [Common Intelligence Pictures] for machine-to-machine solutions.”

Additionally, the 505th CCW participated in VS 22 from Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, where the 705th Combat Training Squadron, also known as the Distributed Mission Operations Center, quickly and effectively responded to a USINDOPACOM commander requirement to support Valiant Shield 22 with joint live, virtual, and constructive capabilities. 

In a first-ever proof of concept which was directly applauded by the U.S. Navy INDOPACOM commander, the DMOC integrated joint LVC capabilities into the exercise by hosting an E-8 JSTARS crew from the 12th Airborne Command and Control Squadron and an MQ-9 crew from the 89th Attack Squadron, connecting them to the exercise through the USN’s Continuous Training Environment.  These crews were able to successfully track and engage enemy shipping, greatly contributing to the overall goals of the exercise. 

“The 705th CTS’s accomplishments during Valiant Shield were providing realistic ISR and tactical kinetic actions utilizing MQ-9 and JSTARS [Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft] in the maritime environment,” according to USAF Lt. Col. Michael Butler, 705th CTS commander, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. “We incorporated Chat, Link-16 tracks and electro-optical video which greatly enhanced C2 processes in JWAS [Joint War at Sea] operations against threats including high-end Level 1 and 2 surface combatants.”

Butler continued, “In recognition of the DMOC’s seamless short-notice integration both operationally and technically into a combatant commander exercise architecture, Admiral Aquilino [U.S. Navy INDOPACOM commander] added “Joint” to Joint War at Sea.”

The planning for the Valiant Shield 2024 execution has already begun; incorporating lessons learned from VS 22 will enhance USINDOPACOM joint forces’ ability to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

By Deb Henley

505th Command and Control Wing

Public Affairs

Soldiers Share Their Experiences About WAREX 782202

Saturday, August 6th, 2022

Blue skies dotted with fluffy clouds. Fields of green surrounded by groves of trees. Gentle breezes and the swaying of branches from time to time. A typical tranquil setting, suddenly interrupted by the cracks of unexpected gunfire in the distance.

Soldiers spring to action to defend the perimeters of their bases. They mount machine guns, aim their M4 carbines equipped with blank firing adapters toward the sound of danger, and shoot, move, and communicate intently during Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 782202 on Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

WAREX serves as an annual training opportunity for many U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers. The training exercise works on practicing Army Warrior Tasks and drills, reinforcing skills that keep a Soldier ready to fight.

“Our Soldiers have learned a lot in regards to base defense,” said Spc. Melina Lambert, a transportation management coordinator with the 940th Movement Control Team. “We’ve been really focusing on improving our strategies for base defense. A lot of them are newer, so they don’t really know much about [annual training] in general, so they’re getting a sneak peek of what the Army and the Reserve is really like.”

“And now with WAREX, we’ve been able to do a lot more AWTs [Army Warrior Tasks] which has helped … with our normal Soldier tasks that we should be working on, every time we come out,” she continued. “And I feel as though it’s been a lot nicer than being in the office.”

But being in the field presents its own challenges. Beads of sweat form on foreheads, and wearing a full long-sleeved uniform with load-bearing vests and protective helmets along with a combat load introduces fatigue just from carrying a Soldier’s weapon and gear.

“The training has been a little difficult at first… especially with the heat and climate conditions,” said Army Sgt. Juan Stamps, Jr., a transportation movement coordinator with the 940th Movement Control Team. “We’ve had a lot of heat casualties, unfortunately. But we learned to adapt and keep our Soldiers hydrated and out of the sun so that we can continue our training.”

The exercise also presents opportunities to identify and strengthen weaknesses with individuals, and thus, units, as a whole.

“I feel with our Soldiers, our communication could be better, and that has been a work in progress,” Lambert reflected. “Otherwise, we’ve been doing a really good job learning a lot of information.”

“It’s all about getting new perspectives on the same thing we all do, which is train and be better. Without failure, success would never come. But I feel that this AT has definitely helped with creating a team now. And we feel a lot closer.”

“We’ve learned a lot not just as a unit but as individual Soldiers as well,” Stamps said. “We’ll come back, we’ll all talk about the things that we learned. The funny things, the bad things. We learn about each other and we help each other out when we don’t know as much as we should.”

“It’s been a fun bonding experience for the unit.”

Overall, Soldiers are coming out of WAREX with newfound experiences, thoughts, and wisdom. Through trial and error, thick and thin, even just a few weeks of working in austere environments and training as one would fight enhances the capabilities of the Soldiers of the U.S. Army. And Soldiers welcome the challenge.

“Embrace the suck,” Lambert said. “[Annual training] can be difficult and have difficult moments. But within those difficult moments you can find peace and making sure to focus on that peace is very important.”

Story by SFC Raymond Boyington, 361st Theater Public Affairs Support Element

Sensor Specialist HENSOLDT Strengthens Commitment to Training

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

Number of apprenticeships doubled

Ulm, 1 August 2022 – The sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT is strengthening its commitment to training for high-tech professions. At the start of the training year on 1 September, the company increased the number of training positions for apprentices and dual students at its Ulm site by another 20 percent from 192 last year to 234. The sensor specialist has thus doubled the number of apprenticeships since it was founded in 2017.

“The security of the future is increasingly determined by high technology, and thus by electronics, software and artificial intelligence,” says Peter Fieser, Chief Human Resources Officer at HENSOLDT AG. “That is why we at HENSOLDT take responsibility for the training of these specialists and thereby ensure our success. We practice this sustainable action in the interest of society and in the interest of our customers, who together with HENSOLDT take responsibility for a secure future. ”

In total, interested parties can choose from 78 training and study places in 18 professions of the future. In the dual study programmes, HENSOLDT focuses on the future fields of system engineering, embedded systems, data science and business engineering. Among the apprenticeships, the focus is on electronics technicians for devices and systems and industrial mechanics. In this way, the company will open up a professional future for more than 200 young people in particularly attractive, technologically promising occupational fields.

In the course of the apprenticeship or the dual study programme, HENSOLDT actively supports stays abroad, for example at the company locations in England, France or South Africa, as well as cross-location departmental rotations.

“After successful completion, all junior HENSOLDTians receive a permanent employment contract,” affirms training manager Werner Stockburger. “In order to ensure a smooth transfer to the specialist area that best matches the interests and skills of the trainees, they are given extensive insights into a wide variety of areas during their training and have the choice between a wide range of further training and development opportunities,” Stockburger adds.

HENSOLDT has already received several awards for its commitment to training, such as ‘Germany’s best trainers’ 2021 (Capital), Germany’s most attractive IT training company 2022 (Chip), SchuleWirtschaft Preis 2021 (Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft/Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft). Many young professionals choose HENSOLDT because the company offers a wide range of career and development opportunities, such as extra-occupational support for Master’s students, even after their training or dual study programme.

At HENSOLDT’s Ulm site, around 3,000 employees are involved in the development and production of radars and electronic reconnaissance systems. A great many of these are engineers and technicians.

Marines Complete One of the Most Difficult Swim Qualifications the Marine Corps Offers

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022


Thirteen U.S. Marines stationed across Okinawa graduated from the Water Survival Advanced course at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on July 22.

WSA is the highest swim qualification that Marines can obtain before becoming Marine Corps Instructors of Water Survival. Throughout the course, students endured aquatic conditioning, endurance swimming, and underwater rescue training.

Taught by six Marine Corps Instructors of Water Survival, each Marine endured a physically demanding week of eight-hour training days in the water. The training included endurance swimming, underwater training, and rescue techniques.

“These students went through a lot of aquatic conditioning, underwater confidence training exercises, and team building exercises,” said Sgt. Bryantruc Nguyen, a network administrator with Marine Air Control Squadron 4, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. “Underwater conditioning is extremely important, because it gives students a foundation before we transition them into making open water rescues. ”

Nguyen explained one of the most difficult parts for students was underwater conditioning. Events aimed toward underwater conditioning were usually conducted with only physical training shorts. The purpose of underwater training was to physically prepare students for tasks they would have to complete while making rescues.

 “As MCIWS we make this course difficult so we can fully trust trainees to make rescues and supervise future swim qualifications.”

Sgt. Bryantruc Nguyen, 1st MAW network administrator

He said that the students completed two sessions of rifle-ups, a main component of underwater confidence training. During rifle-ups students would drop their rifles in the deep end. Once the rifles were at the bottom, they would dive down to retrieve their rifles and stay underwater until instructed to return to the surface. Instructors increased the time spent underwater after every succeeding repetition of rifle-ups. During this iteration of the course, underwater training forced a handful of students to exit the pool due to the difficulty of the task

“Students also struggled with Marine Corps rescues because they were forced to make open water rescues in their full combat utility uniform without panicking,” said Nguyen. “As MCIWS we make this course difficult so we can fully trust trainees to make rescues and supervise future swim qualifications.”

Per Marine Corps Order 1500.52D, the intention of swim qualification courses is to ensure that each Marine meets the expectation of being “amphibious by nature.” This requires Marines to be prepared if they ever need to make a rescue while on active duty.

“Swimming in combat utility uniforms was my weakness. I was a distance swimmer in high school, but I never swam in full gear,” said Lance Cpl. Tyge Watts, a motor vehicle operator with 3rd Transportation Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group. “That’s a big obstacle you have to face, because it disrupts your form, and you have to go back and focus on the basics of swimming.”

In conjunction with underwater conditioning, students completed Marine Corps rescues and endurance swims. During the Marine Corps rescues, students underwent four different scenarios for rescuing a thrashing victim and properly escorting them out of the water in their full utility kit.

Watts explained that the 1500-meter swim and Marine Corps rescues in full uniform were the most difficult challenges for him. Everyday, students swam up to a mile, performed timed conditioning swims every day and focused on different swimming techniques that helped them maneuver comfortably in the water in their full kits.

Nguyen explained that this iteration of the WSA course saw 12 out of 21 students successfully graduate at the end of the course. The average dropout rate for each cycle is around 75 to 85 percent due to the intense physical demand to complete the course.

“WSA is definitely not a course for everyone, it’s a very big jump from the intermediate swim qualification course,” stated Nguyen. “It’s definitely a great course, but only a select few can say that they are advanced swim qualified.”

Marine Corps Installations Pacific

SureFire Field Notes Ep 72 – How to Cheat: Max Point Blank Theory with Alex Hartmann

Friday, July 29th, 2022

Alex Hartmann is a former Marine Corps Scout Sniper with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving active service in 2016, his mission to serve the tactical population continued as a co-founder of Ridgeline Defense, a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business whose mission is to defend America and her interests both at home and abroad, through the training and equipping of Military, Law Enforcement, and vetted Civilian clients. The Ridgeline Training Center is located in Dalton, NH, in strategic partnership with the Team O’Neil Rally School. Their facility is designed by Special Operators and purpose-built to support world-class training, as well as to provide a discrete location for Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Special thanks to The Ranch TX and Shooter Symposium for making this episode possible.

For more on SureFire:

SERE Specialists Thrive in Harshest Conditions: Teaching Next Generation of Officers to Do the Same

Friday, July 22nd, 2022


Organizing safe, effective survival and evasion training for nearly 1,000 people isn’t easy – especially in an austere and unforgiving environment that’s hours from the nearest signs of civilization. But Capt. Jason Walker and Master Sgt. Brian Youngberg’s team of 33 Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Specialists are doing just that this summer as they train hundreds of U.S. Air Force Academy cadets during three 21-day courses on critical survival and evasion skills at the Air Force Academy and Pinon Canyon Military Site near Trinidad, Colorado.

The Air Force Academy Combat Survival Training program enables cadets to practice and learn the skills required to survive as an isolated personnel in a combat environment.  This training also provides leadership opportunities for upper-class Cadets and shortens the training timeline for new lieutenants in certain AFSCs. 

“SERE provides the tools necessary to survive in multiple situations and to return with honor,” said Walker. “This program is designed to not only introduce cadets to these survival skills, but also offer them a leadership opportunity.”

On a normal day these specialists instruct at the 336th Training Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, where they’re responsible not only for teaching SERE to more than 6,000 Airmen annually but also training candidates in the SERE technical training pipeline.

“Helping people has always driven me,” Youngberg said. “SERE as a career field is predominantly helping people, whether to learn the skills that will help them return with honor or to do their jobs.”

While teaching SERE isn’t new to the specialists, the scale of the program is. A small-group try-out was conducted in 2021 with just over 130 cadets completing the program. This year’s iteration, consisting of three 300-plus blocks of students, represents a nearly 800% increase in student training.

One unique aspect to the program is that cadet cadre act as primary instructors, having completed a hands-on training course with SERE Specialists, who help guide student learning and ensure course objectives are met.  This provides cadet cadre with opportunities to grow their leadership and develop in a controlled training environment.

Nearly 1,200 cadets are anticipated to complete the program by the end of the summer.

“Any time you’re dealing with 1,200 people, there are a whole bunch of gears that have to fit together the right way,” Walker said. Weather, environmental factors, instructional timelines, safety and more all have to be factored in and adjustments made to ensure students receive proper training. 

The team of SERE Specialists are eagerly tackling the challenge of adapting their training to the cadets.

“Uncertainty is where SERE specialists thrive,” Walker said. “The team out here has one officer, a senior NCO, a couple NCOs, and then the rest are all Airmen. These Airmen are problem-solving nonstop to get the mission accomplished. It’s awesome to watch them.”

The team of SERE specialists also appreciate the chance to mentor the future officers.

“For a lot of the cadets, this is their first exposure to active duty non-commissioned officers,” Youngberg said. “So they’re able to talk with our SERE Specialists for perspective on what it’s like being active duty and understand the importance of the officer and NCO relationship.”

Walker agrees. “Mentoring is my favorite part,” he said. “It’s great when you see the light switch flip on, because it means you were able to connect and get information across in a way that people understand. And then also seeing students do things they didn’t think they could do or hadn’t done before.”

To become a SERE Specialist, Airmen must be both physically capable and mentally prepared for extreme conditions, requiring more than a year of intense, and grueling training. Candidates are initially assessed through a 19-day screening course at Joint-Base San Antonio-Lackland, where they are evaluated on their physical fitness, aptitude, dedication, and leadership potential. After passing those tests, candidates undergo the rigorous SERE Specialist training that prepares them to survive in any environment, including deserts, mountains, arctic conditions and on the open water.  Following graduation, SERE Specialists undergo more dive, parachute and emergency medical technician training, ensuring they have the right skills to operate in any situation. Only 40% of candidates that begin the pipeline end up earning the coveted pewter-green SERE beret.

The Combat Survival Training program at the Air Force Academy concludes July 29, and is expected to continue to impact future leaders for years to come.

Story by Capt Lauren Woods, Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Photos by Trevor Cokley

US, Moroccan Special Forces Team Up For Inaugural Cyber Training

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

TIFNIT, Morocco – U.S. Army Soldiers with 3rd Special Forces Group (SFG) Tactical Information Support Center, Expeditionary Cyber Team 2, and Royal Moroccan Special Operations Forces (SOF) teamed up to conduct prototype cyber effects training during African Lion 22, June 26, 2022.

African Lion 22, U.S. Africa Command’s largest, premier, joint, annual exercise hosted by Morocco, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia, June 6 – 30, is a critical opportunity for members of the joint team to build and test their strategic readiness to deploy, fight and win in a complex, multi-domain environment. The cyber training collaboration was the first of its kind and sought to discover how low equity cyber solutions can expand options for key decision makers at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

The cyber effects training included hands-on cyber lab demonstrations using commercial tools and comparing them to less accessible high-tech devices. The lead 3rd SFG trainer described the hands-on training as an ‘opportunity to take cyber security to the field and into the mind of each Service Member in a combat situation.’

3rd SFG endeavors to learn, iterate, and eventually offer flexible cyber options at scale while maximizing the indigenous approach through partner forces.

“By actually shifting the focus of training to the modern combat environment, which is now becoming rapidly digital, you create a more potent, lethal force, moving into the future,” stated a member of 3rd SFG.

Building an understanding of multi-domain digital activities would allow U.S. and partner forces to work with more sustainable equipment and better understand digital threats to their missions.

U.S. Africa Command is ready to provide the necessary resources to advance mutual interests and respond to crisis in Africa because of successfully forged and maintained partnerships and demonstrated operational success.

African Lion 22 is a joint all-domain, multi-component, and multinational exercise, employing a full array of mission capabilities with the goal to strengthen interoperability among participants and set the theater for strategic access. More than 7,500 participants from 28 nations and NATO train together with a focus on enhancing readiness for U.S. and partner nation forces.

Story by Charli Turner, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

Photo by SFC Katie Theusch, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa