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Home | Tag Archives: 1AD

Tag Archives: 1AD

First Army, partnered units drive on with training through pandemic and quarantine

The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as Coronavirus, changed many ways First Army Soldiers conducted their mission of training and preparing National Guard and Army Reserve units for mobilization, deployment, and demobilization. But it never stopped the mission itself.

Throughout First Army, Soldiers have been able to maintain readiness of their partner units by adopting safety precautions necessary to protect the force at Mobilization Force Generation Installations, or MFGI’s, at Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Bliss, Texas.

Reserve Component units scheduled for deployment continued to deploy for critical missions around the world, while demobilizing units were able to complete their requirements in a timely fashion and ensure Soldier safety before returning to their home stations.

“We can continue to train and do business under the conditions that we’re facing,” said Col. Lance Cangelosi, the commander of the 120th Inf. Bde. At Fort Hood, Texas. “We have to be a little bit thoughtful about reasonable precautions but we are absolutely capable of continuing to train units, build readiness, and support our combatant command.”

“Our job is to train and validate and deploy service members and we will make our mission,” said Col. Martin Schmidt, commander of First Army Division West’s 5th Armored Brigade, at Fort Bliss, Texas. “Training can be done and we can accomplish everything we accomplished prior to COVID-19. It’s just a new normal.”

The first precaution was to place Soldiers in quarantine in order to monitor for symptoms. When arriving at an MFGI, both mobilizing and demobilizing Soldiers went through a mandatory 14-day quarantine as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.

For mobilizing units, First Army commanders have implemented a plan to optimize the time Soldiers spend in quarantine to ensure some training requirements can be met.

“The first seven days they’re doing medical checks,” said Rick Fink, First Army Chief of Training. “If after seven days they’re not turning up positive or suspected of having COVID, they can start doing individualized training and that is done around the barracks in most cases.”

After the mandatory monitoring period, Fink said, Reserve Component Soldiers continued their mobilization training facilitated by First Army Observer Coach/Trainers. That training came with some modifications.

“The unit is distanced from any other unit,” Cangelosi said. “The Hood mobilization brigade brings them chow in the barracks, and arranges for laundry and life support activities,” said Cangelosi. “The 120th Observer Coach/Trainers pick up those units from their barracks and transport them to the training area.

The OC/Ts and anybody that’s involved with training that unit goes through a COVID-19 screening protocol.”

Observer Coach/Trainers of the 120th Inf. Bde also observe proper social distancing, hygiene and mask protocols while conducting training of partner units, Cangelosi said.

“OC/Ts are doing the exact same job,” Cangelosi said. “We are training them on the same task, we’re just putting some additional requirements and protocols in place to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID.”

Combining mandatory quarantine with training worked to the advantage of the Reserve Component units with which First Army partners by keeping their mind on their mission, Cangelosi said.

“The units appreciate that they are not just sitting in their barracks for 14 days in a do-nothing quarantine, but are actively engaged in building readiness and preparing for their upcoming deployments,” Cangelosi said.

The process on the other end of the deployment is likewise streamlined, Cangelosi said, by utilizing virtual technology.

“Demobilizing Soldiers have continued to come into Fort Hood from overseas, and rather than just do a 14-day quarantine and then execute the demobilization, they are executing demobilization tasks while in quarantine,” Cangelosi said. “We have a bank of computers, phones, and scanners that are made available to them and they are able to execute most of their demobilization tasks while they are in quarantine.”

Utilizing time effectively to accommodate both collective training requirements and Soldier safety has been a concerted team effort, according to Maj. William Ponder, acting operations officer for First Army Division West’s 120th Infantry Brigade.

“It’s a huge success that we’ve been able to continue with our mission with the limitations and constraints,” Ponder said. “There have been outstanding efforts by everyone involved in this, down to every Soldier in our organization. It was a very challenging obstacle up front to try and get over but I think we’ve found a new battle rhythm that’s made us a better organization.”

Meanwhile, in Fort Bliss, Texas, home to First Army’s other active MFGI, training has largely stayed the same. Schmidt said the changes largely involved a change in schedule to accommodate the quarantine, altering when Soldiers of the deploying unit would attend Soldier Readiness Processing for administrative requirements.

“In the past, units would go to SRP first and then they would start training. Now they go to SRP on day 14,” Schmidt said.

Despite the changes and challenges, Schmidt said the commander’s intent is still being met to provide trained and ready Reserve Component forces for combatant commanders worldwide.

“We still do squad live fires, platoon live fires, and we still do a lot of collective movement tasks. We’re still doing Guardian Angel training, we’re still doing combat lifesaver,” Schmidt said.

Another focus is on making sure demobilizing Soldiers have optimal use of time in quarantine.

“We are still interacting with them, we are still prepping them for their reverse SRP, giving them face time with providers for the Periodic Health Assessments,” Schmidt said.

By doing all this, units are usually flying home within two days of leaving quarantine. And by communicating, planning, and executing, First Army and Reserve Component units continue to work together to build partnerships, improve readiness, and drive on with the mission.

Author: Warren Marlow – First Army

Bulldog Brigade: From the field to the classroom amidst pandemic

FORT BLISS, Texas – “What’s important to me from a field grade in my formation is: one, you’ve got to be an expert at your job; two, as a field grade, when given a task, even if it’s outside your expertise, you must contribute; lastly, field grade officers solve problems for the commander,” Col. Marc Cloutier, commander 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Bulldog”, 1st Armored Division.

Leaders from the brigade S4 (Logistics Operations Section) from 3rd ABCT, 1st AD, conducted a two-part, distributed-Logistics Forum with students taking a logistics operations elective at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, April 16 and April 23, to provide the cohort with feedback from peers conducting sustainment operations in a tactical-level organization.

“One of the opportunities I wish I had, while I was at the school house (CGSC), was to engage someone who was actually in the field, and ask them – ‘Did they (CGSC) prepare us well?’ the school (CGSC) just doesn’t have the ability to replicate that,” said Maj. Ryan Molina, native of Ashburn, Virginia, Brigade S4, for 3rd ABCT, 1st AD. Having the opportunity to ask the question – ‘What are you seeing at the tactical level?’ from somebody that’s about to go into that seat – that was our intention for the forum.”

The two-part logistics forum provided majors enrolled in the Logistics Operations Planner Course elective at CGSC the opportunity to hear firsthand from sustainment professionals in an armored brigade combat team.

Topics discussed during the forum included: Brigade Sustainment Operations Overview, Finance and Budget Management, Transportation and Mobility Considerations, Food Services Planning and Execution, Property Book Office Procedures; as well as Expectations and Feedback from the Bulldog Brigade Commander, Command Sgt. Maj., and Executive Officer.

Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Daniels, native of Washington D.C., non-commissioned officer in charge of sustainment operations for 3rd ABCT, 1st AD, discusses the mentality incoming brigade logistics officers should have as they take charge of sustainment operations for a tactical-level organization.

“The mentality they (Logistics Officers) have to have is to be open minded to who they’re going to be dealing with,” said Daniels. “Of course, they have to come in running and get their feet wet, but they have to know who’s on their team, who’s dependable, who’s not, and who can make something happen. The Brigade S4 Officer is in charge of everything that happens in the section. The PBO (Property Book Officer) is in charge of the (unit) property book, change command inventories, ordering and fielding, lateral transfers, equipment turn-in directives. The Mobility Officer deals with the movement of everything. They have to deal with the unit going from here to another training area just to support, and manage how the unit gets government contracted vehicles.”

There is a significant learning curve for junior field-grade officers as they transition from the year-long CGSC program to serving in a key-

Col. Marc Cloutier, commander of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Bulldog”, 1st Armored Division, delivers opening comments at the Logistics Forum, led by the Bulldog Brigade S4 Section, to students at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in the Logistics Operations Planner Course to provide insight of expectations from a brigade commander’s perspective of what is expected from a field grade officer upon arrival to the organization, April, 23. | U.S. Army photo by Maj. Anthony Clas

developmental assignment on a higher-headquarters staff to assume responsibility of sustainment operations in a high-tempo organization managing millions of dollars and thousands of personnel as a logistics officer.

“I’ve never been assigned to a BCT (Brigade Combat Team), light or heavy, so the electives here at CGSC (Command and General Staff College) really give me an opportunity to institutionally learn what I haven’t learned through personal experience,” said Maj. Ashian Azadi, native of Los Angeles, student at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Azadi participated in the two-part Logistics Forum, facilitated by Bulldog Brigade, via the Army University Blackboard virtual platform.

“There was a lot of value and a lot of things that I liked about the two sessions,” said Azadi. “I’ll tell you that at first, I thought it was going to maybe a few field grade officers from the Brigade BSB (Brigade Support Battalion) and SPO (Support Operations Officer) section. It seemed like most of the brigade participated, to include the brigade XO (Executive Officer) and the commander, Bulldog 6. That was impressive – they valued our time, our education, and this opportunity so much that they wanted to participate. There were so many participants willing to share information or answer our questions; and it helps to understand the layers of what’s important to whom, and how everybody has to work together to accomplish that same mission.”

Molina and his team generated a presentation for the cohort at CGSC, and worked through the challenges of adhering to social-distancing guidelines necessary during the logistics-forum event.

“The systems (command and control) we had in place required a lot of face to face meetings and engagements, so it very much shaped our thought process on not only decide what kind of systems we would use, whether it be CVR (Commercial, Virtual, Remote), whether it be DCS (Defense Connect System), or reaching out to the school house using blackboard,” said Molina.

The best practices gained while taking the initiative to ensure all subject-matter experts were able to field the questions from the virtual audience, of whom are preparing to meet the expectations of their gaining-unit leaders and Soldiers, served as a proof of principle as to how operations may continue even after we move beyond the constrained COVID-19 conditions.

“Even after COVID-19 allows us to go back to a more steady state operations, I think we’re going to use a lot of the systems we’ve established during this timeframe,” said Molina.

Author:  Maj. Anthony Clas – 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division Public Affairs 

The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Bulldog”, 1st Armored Division, S4 section: Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Neniskus, Property Book Officer; Maj. Ryan Molina, Brigade S4; Capt. Avery Rucker, Finance Officer, Sgt 1st Class Alexander Daniels, Brigade S4 Non-commissioned Officer-in-Charge; and Capt. Malcom Perry, Assistant Brigade S4; lead a Logistics Forum for the students at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Logistics Operations Planner Course to provide firsthand insight to day-to-day sustainment operations at the tactical level. | U.S. Army photo by Maj. Anthony Clas

Gallery+Story: Ft. Bliss Engineers Prepare to Demolish at Best Sapper Competition

FORT BLISS – Fifty teams, fifty miles, in just fifty hours. Those are the odds stacked against the first Fort Bliss team to take on the Army’s elite combat engineer competition in three years.

1st Lt. Denys Villatoro, an operations officer and native of Homestead, Florida, and 2nd Lt. Kevin Steiner, a reconnaissance officer and native of Fairfax, Virginia, both assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, will represent America’s Tank Division in the 14th Annual Lt. Gen. Robert B. Flowers Best Sapper Competition (BSC) from Mar. 30 to Apr. 1 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

The Army’s premier engineer competition, which was renamed in 2018 in honor of the 50th Chief of Engineers, tests the mental and physical tenacity and grit of America’s top combat engineer Soldiers. Sappers will travel more than 50 miles in 50 hours throughout the rugged Ozarks during the grueling competition while carrying a ruck sack that weighs more than 80 pounds and competing in a variety of events, testing them to their mental and physical breaking point.

Physical fitness is key, but a large part of the competition is to solve problems engineers may see on the battlefield. “Sappers are experts in solving complex problems,” said Steiner. “If there’s an issue that somebody doesn’t know how to solve, we come in because we’re experts in different niche fields, like mountaineering, waterborne operations, and pathfinder operations.”

Sappers are also experts in mobility, countermobility and survivability. “If you need to get people from point A to point B, or you need to stop people from getting from point A to point B, we’re the people you call to facilitate that movement,” Steiner added. “Regardless of whether it’s over a lake, a river, or a mountain cliffside, we have the means and ability to get people where they need to go.”

During the course of three days, they will compete on limited amounts of sleep and will have to complete a series of combat engineer tasks including demolition and land navigation, as well as a ruck march, exam, team-building events, strength and endurance events, an X-Mile run and jumping out of a helicopter into a lake.

As of this year, both members of the team must be Sapper Leader Course graduates, whereas previous competition rules required only one.

Coaching the Fort Bliss Best Sapper team is Sgt. 1st Class Zachery Stiles, an operations sergeant from Denver, Colorado, also assigned to HHC, 16th BEB, 1st ABCT, 1AD.

Previously Stiles served as an instructor for two years at the Sapper Leader Course, a rigorous leadership program operated by the U.S. Army Engineer School and prerequisite for competing in the BSC.

In fact, the Sapper school is where Stiles first met Villatoro.

While building a Best Sapper Competition training program at Fort Bliss, Stiles tapped the Sapper- and Ranger- qualified, U.S. Military Academy at West Point alumni first, knowing the full extent of his capabilities.

His partner Steiner, a James Madison University alumni, just arrived fresh from completing the Engineer Basic Officer Leader Course (EBOLC) and Sapper school.

Knowing he would have the most current U.S. Army Engineer School training possible, Stiles pulled him in to join Villatoro who had already been training for some time.

Together they will be the first team to represent Fort Bliss at the national competition in three years.

According to Villatoro, this may not come as a surprise to some. “People kind of get this mentality that an armored division is more laid back, but it’s not true,” he explained.

The teammates and their coach are hoping to amend that perception with a strong showing at the competition.

“We’re trying to change the way people think about an armored division,” said Stiles. “Trucks break down, machines will always fail you. We don’t rely on machines, we rely on the toughness of the individual. Sappers don’t break down when times get tough; you can lean on them and get the mission done.”

For Steiner, becoming a Sapper is the pinnacle of an engineer in the Army, so he jumped at the chance to compete in the name of the division.

“We want to do the best that we can since we’re representing the 1st Armored Division,” said Steiner. “It gives us a great sense of pride that we’re going to be the faces for the division at this competition.”

Preparations in El Paso have been extremely challenging for the two Sappers. Both Soldiers are first-time participants in the competition.

A basic week consists of nearly four hours of various physical training every morning and weekly visits to the aquatic center and obstacle course.

There are also hands-on and academic classes with Stiles regarding demolition calculations, unexploded ordnances, knots, and anything else that the team might encounter in the competition.

“We’re enablers. We clear the way so that infantry or armored units can get through,” said Villatoro. “Any obstacles there are, we can either take them down or build them. If there’s a bridge we need to tear down to prevent enemy advancement or a bridge we need to build so that we can use it to our advantage, we make it happen.”

El Paso is well known for its dry desert landscape with flat lands and temperate airy climate.

On the other side of the spectrum, Fort Leonard Wood is home to the Lake of the Ozarks and can be best described as heavily wooded with rolling hills and cold winters.

Despite El Paso and Fort Leonard Wood being polar opposites in terms of climate and environment, Steiner and Villatoro agree that training in El Paso has its advantages.

According to Steiner, their weekend trail runs high up in the Franklin Mountains are not only great for preparing for Fort Leonard Wood’s hilly terrain, but also for building endurance.

“My first month and a half here, I could barely run because I wasn’t used to the altitude,” said Steiner. “Now that we’ve both adjusted to the elevation, it’ll be a completely different ball game in terms of readiness once we get to Fort Leonard Wood.”

As part of their preparation, both are competing in the 31st Annual Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range in March.

The Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging 26.2 mile march through high desert terrain conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health, and lives.

Competing in such an intense march less than two weeks before the BSC might be daunting to most, but the Sappers are up for the challenge.

“It’s definitely something good for us. The 26 miles will prep our feet and get them ready for Best Sapper,” said Villatoro.

“We could not be more proud and excited for the Catamounts battalion to represent the Iron Division at the 14th Annual Best Sapper Competition,” said Lt. Col. Jason Legro, Battalion Commander, 16th BEB.

“The team’s commitment to the Regiment is nothing short of outstanding. We are looking forward to seeing them compete.”

For those that cannot make it to Fort Leonard Wood in person, you can follow their progress on the Best Sapper Competition Facebook page and the BSC website.

Author:  Jean Han – 1st Armored Division

A Little Bit of Bliss: A Crafty Solution to Spouse Employment

FORT BLISS, Texas – Tucked away in a nondescript brown building on Chaffee Road is a little gem of a gift shop bursting with color and charm.

Cleverly named A Little Bit of Bliss, the Fort Bliss Spouses’ Association (FBSA)-operated store is a brick-and-mortar solution to something that 1st Armored Division and U.S. Army leaders care about very much- spouse employment and quality of life. Since reopening in October 2019 with a new look, the gift shop has become a haven for military spouses looking for a creative outlet, hobby, comradery or to promote a side business and make some extra cash.

“It’s our service that we want to give to our spouses,” said Angelina Edwards, manager of the gift shop and a military spouse herself. “We want to give them that platform to be able to not only make a little extra money but to keep them busy and have something for them to do.”

While employment challenges are not unique to military spouses, they face additional obstacles due to the transient nature of military life. Deployments, frequent moves, remote locations of military bases, and child care needs are just some of the many challenges that military spouses deal with on a regular basis.

This is the case for one of the gift shop’s vendors, Misty Hofmann, a native of Mount Dora, Florida, whose husband is assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion,1AD.

Hofmann is an Air Force veteran with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and several years working as a DoD-contracted satellite imagery analyst under her belt.

Yet due to frequent relocations and having to become the primary child caregiver, she has not had a job since 2011. “It just became too difficult to find a job that correlates to my skill set at those different locations and for that small amount of time that we’d actually be there,” said Hofmann. When Hofmann discovered A Little Bit of Bliss, she was overjoyed. She had found a way to occupy her time and feel a sense of accomplishment.

“It’s rewarding for me, because as a homemaker, there are a whole lot of things that I do that never actually get finished. I don’t feel that sense of completion that I found when I was working, but my side business gave me something to focus on and feel that sense of completion,” said Hofmann.

Many military bases are located in rural or remote areas, leading to fierce competition in the job market. Living in an area like El Paso brings the additional challenge of a job market that often expects employees to be bilingual.

“I’ve had a hard time finding a job because I don’t speak Spanish, and it’s kind of required to work at a hospital in this area. I’ve been looking off and on for three years,” said Little Bit of Bliss vendor Meagan McCullough, whose husband is assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1AD.

Despite having career experience and an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology, the Suwanee, Georgia, native said she has found the job hunt to be difficult.

According to Edwards, this is par for the course. “It’s really hard to get jobs here because we live in a place that is highly populated,” said Edwards. “About half of the spouses that sell their crafts here can’t find jobs and are just trying to make ends meet the best way they can.”

The store features many items with military, patriotic, Texas and El Paso among its popular themes. A percentage of the price of each item goes to the FBSA for its programming, and the rest the vendors keep.

The FBSA provides the opportunity for members to participate in social and creative activities while supporting worthwhile service and community activities. The FBSA also operates the Fort Bliss Thrift Shop, with proceeds providing community non-profits with grants and members and their local family members with merit-based scholarships.

Aside from independent opportunities like A Little Bit of Bliss, the Army is improving career and employment opportunities for military spouses through new programs and existing partnerships.

In a bid to support military families, the Army is taking an active approach to help military spouses find jobs, build careers and improve their quality of life.

Supporting Army spouses in continuing their work in a new place of residence with minimal delay and additional expense is important.

Spouses in professionally licensed fields face challenges resulting from delays and the cost of transferring licenses to a new state.

Many spouses may qualify for help in covering the costs of transferring those credentials when they experience a permanent-change-of-station move with their service member spouse.

Under the National Defense Authorization Act 2020, civilian spouses can now receive up to $1,000 in reimbursements for relicensing costs during permanent change-of-station relocations.

Policy details and reimbursement procedures vary by service branch. Spouses are eligible for reimbursement after getting their new license or certification.

Information for each service branch is available on the Military OneSource website.

For those who are interested in joining the A Little Bit of Bliss team for a more local, personal start to employment at Fort Bliss, Edwards encourages spouses to try their hand at crafting.

The shop currently has 23 spouses and service members that are selling their goods there, although typically the average is 50.

“Anyone who might be crafty or wants to try it should come on down, because we have plenty of space for more crafts!” said Edwards.

Useful Links:
A Little Bit of Bliss gift shop  |   Fort Bliss Spouse Association (FBSA)   |   Employment Readiness Program (ERP) 
Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO)   |   Military One Source

Author: Jean Han  – 1st Armored Division

Iron Soldiers from 1st Armored Division recognized as Master gunners for expertise, knowledge

FORT BLISS  – Excellence, knowledge and expertise were on full display as 18 Iron Soldiers from across 1st Armored Division were recognized with the newly implemented Master Gunner Identification Badge (MGIB), on February 4.

“It’s an honor to receive the MGIB and I’m very happy that I have received it,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Holubik, a recipient of the MGIB and an M1 armor crewman and master gunner assigned to 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team and native of Plainfield, Illinois. “I know there are a lot of Soldiers before me who are excited about the MGIB and deserve the honor too.”

The Army’s former acting Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Raymond Horoho, initially approved the MGIB in January 2018. The process finalized in May 2019 and the badge is retroactive to 1975.

In order to qualify for the badge, Soldiers must complete one of eight master gunner courses specializing in a combat arms branch that trains weapon systems mastery, such as armor or field artillery.

“We had to prepare to become master gunners with the month long Master Gunner Common Core course which included basics like army machine guns and gunnery,” said Holubik. “Following the course, there are two months of training on specific platforms, which for me is the M1 Abrams tank. The instructors went in depth about gun tube technology, the fire control systems and the ballistics of different ammunition.”

Master gunners provide an essential skillset throughout the division, incorporating their weapons knowledge mastery with advanced training techniques to assist and advise commanders in the planning and execution of weapons-based training.

“The master gunner in 1AD is the commander’s subject matter expert on his respective platform, allowing any commander regardless of echelon to properly plan and train his company, battalion or brigade to a high level of proficiency,” said Master Sgt. Elidio Avila, the 1AD master gunner and native of Los Angeles. “Master gunners go above and beyond the normal duties and scope of their assigned Military Occupational Specialty. More will be asked out of the master gunner than his peers of the same rank.”

Effective training of Iron Soldiers provided by master gunners is a key component of 1AD’s capabilities and readiness, ensuring that 1AD remains a lethal fighting force able to engage and defeat any enemy.

“The master gunner in an armor unit will plan and train from individual weapons qualifications to collective qualifications for all echelons of training,” said Avila. “As to where a light unit trains on the same weapon systems as any other unit in the Army, the armor unit has special areas of emphasis that only master gunners can develop, train and certify.”

As 1AD continues to train and increase their combat readiness and effectiveness, master gunners from across the division will play a vital role in ensuring their Soldier’s success in the future.

“We will make sure that everyone in our unit is up to the task,” said Holubik. “They will be ready to deploy and engage the enemy in a moment’s notice.”

The value and necessity of master gunners has been recognized across the Army, resulting in a greater emphasis on their training and viability as advisors.

“Master gunners across the force are being strengthened to build lethality in our armored units,” said Avila. “The current priority of the Army is to grow the population across all echelons of master gunners and create a more structured and stable career path for the master gunner.”

Author: Pvt. Matthew Marcellus – 1st Armored Division 

A Soldier’s journey: Texas-based National Guard Soldier turns his life around

For Sgt. James Green, his path to the U.S. Army could be described as a rocky one.

He was born in San Angelo, Texas as a “military brat,” being the son of an Air Force tech sergeant. During his formative years his family bounced around between various places, including several stateside and overseas locations such as Maryland, Texas, Washington, Hawaii, and Japan. His family finally settled in El Paso, Texas following the completion of his father’s term of service in the U.S. Air Force.

Green describes his early life as “chaotic, and unstable.” “As soon as I would make a good friend, I’d have to leave,” he said.

This is an unfortunate fact of life for many military children, but Green had other issues to deal with as well – the eventual divorce of his parents and some extremely challenging anger issues. His mom thought his anger stemmed from the divorce, but Green says there were other concerns beyond the surface.

“I was angry and I was diagnosed with ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder]. I had a ton of energy and nowhere to put it,” he said. “I was a very destructive child; I was hard to deal with as a child.”

Green went through years of medication and therapy for his ADHD and anger issues, none of which seemed to help. One day he decided to stop taking the medication out of frustration and found other outlets to deal with his ADHD. Unfortunately, he states he turned to “illegal” means to deal with his issues.

Juvenile delinquency followed, with various forays into theft, drugs, and other illicit behavior. Green got a wake-up call, however, when he got arrested. The arrest was for a minor offense, but it was enough to make him want to turn his life around. He felt military service would help him find structure in his life, so he enlisted as a Soldier in the Texas Army National Guard in 2003 as a cable systems installer-maintainer and deployed to Iraq within a year of his enlistment.

During Green’s first deployment to Iraq, he gained additional clarity and focus through dealing with difficult circumstances. Green’s combat deployment to Iraq was harsh and violent. He was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with Valor device for his actions when his guard tower was attacked by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) and small arms fire.

In a different incident, some Iraqi children were killed by a roadside IED that was intended to target him and his fellow Soldiers. The attack took place in a location where Green had been interacting with those same children the day before during a combat patrol, and the lone surviving child came to the gate of his unit’s outpost after the tragedy to inform him of what happened.

“It was at that point that all the anger I had been holding on to, all that energy was gone. It was a completely reality-shattering moment for me, and everything changed in my life,” said Green.

Green has since deployed three more times with the Texas Army National Guard: two more tours in Iraq, and he is currently deployed to Afghanistan, where he is an invaluable member of the communications section during his assignment at Task Force-Southeast, based in Southeastern Afghanistan. He assists with everything computer-related and keeps communications running smoothly throughout the task force as the help desk administrator.

Green is a proud member of the 1st Armored Division’s Mobile Command Post Operational Detachment, known as the 1AD MCP-OD, a relatively new Texas Army National Guard unit that is a company-level element for the 1st Armored Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, based at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Sgt. James Green, native of El Paso, Texas, assigned to the 1st Armored Division Mobile Command Post Operational Detachment (1AD MCP-OD), Texas Army National Guard, kisses his wife Hannah on their wedding day, May 12, 2017. Green’s journey into the U.S. Army has been filled with challenges, but he values the lessons the Army has given him. | Photo Courtesy of Sgt. James Green

1AD MCP-OD Soldiers work side-by-side with the division’s active duty Soldiers, providing essential skillsets needed during major training exercises and frequent deployments. It is a rare opportunity for a National Guard Soldier to work so closely intermingled with the active component.

“I really enjoy a lot of facets of it,” Green said. “We have a lot more reach and a lot more opportunity to do the jobs that we originally signed up to do.” Green also enjoys the MCP-OD’s frequent opportunities for training missions and overseas deployments.

In addition to his military achievements, Green has educational goals as well. He currently holds an Associate’s Degree in Information Systems & Security from Western Technical Institute, and aspires to earn both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security and Information Assurance in the future.

He hopes to re-class his military occupational specialty (MOS) to 35 series, Intelligence, and hopes to get the opportunity to work within the Department of Defense in the future. As for his Texas Army National Guard career, Green plans to take full advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by his unit, saying “This MCP-OD will keep me until my military retirement.”

Author: Sgt. Karen Lawshae  – 1st Armored Division 

Meet the Gallardos: Younger sister outranks older sister on deployment

Imagine being the younger sister, in a traditional Mexican house, where your older sister is the boss while mom works a night job. Now imagine, many years later, you outrank your older sister. Let payback begin.

Meet the Gallardo sisters, Master Sgt. Eliana Y. Gallardo, operations noncommissioned officer in charge, and Capt. Carla J. Gallardo, operations officer, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade Resolute Sustainment Support Brigade, (1AD RSSB), who are now deployed together to Afghanistan supporting Operation Resolute Support.

They were born in Mexico but raised in Stockton, Calif., from 1990 to 2001. Both have been in the Army for over 11 years, but this is their first opportunity to serve together. Deploying with a sibling is not uncommon but a younger sister outranking the older sister, there has to be some karma in that.

“Being from a traditional Mexican family, the older siblings take care of the younger siblings,” said Carla. “With our mom working at night, that left the job for the older sisters to act as mom for the younger kids. We didn’t form a bond until later in life as she (Eliana) was very mean to me growing up, very bossy.”

They were raised with strong Mexican culture. Both parents worked to provide a better life for their six children. Their father worked as a farmer during the day and their mom worked a night job to make ends meet. The Gallardo sisters are five years apart in age and while they are close today, this was not the case growing up.

“My job was to take care of Carla and our youngest sister Eunice,” said Eliana. “Did I enjoy the power? What big sister doesn’t?”

During the early years, their relationship was more of a “mother/daughter” dynamic. This proved to be impactful when Carla watched her older sister Eliana graduate high school and join the Army.

“Everyone was still at home and never left; that was our culture,” said Eliana. “I just wanted to get away and see the world. I had no idea Carla would follow in my footsteps many years later.”

Carla did carve her own path. After high school, she decided to go to college first and become the first in her family to graduate with a college degree. After graduation, she was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army and with that, the power shifted.

“I decided I wanted to be the first in my family to graduate college and then join the military as an officer,” said Carla. “The thought did cross my mind many times that one day Eliana might have to salute me and do what I say.”

Today they laugh about the older sister saluting the younger, but military customs and courtesies do not distinguish or give credit for being the older sister. Enlisted must pay respect to the officer ranks by rendering a salute and using “Sir” and “Ma’am.”

“I remember saluting her for the first time,” said Eliana. It was in Fort Bragg and I just thought, oh, I can’t believe years ago I changed her diaper and now I’m saluting her. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.”

When they are not deployed , they live two blocks away from each other outside Fort Bliss, Texas where they are both stationed. They have formed a bond through the years as the age difference became less relevant and the thing they have most in common, their Army careers, helped solidify their friendship.

“We live two blocks away from each other which is pretty cool,” said Eliana. “We do a lot of things together, hiking, CrossFit, running and we love binge watching Game of Thrones.”

The deployment for the 1AD RSSB to support operations in Afghanistan meant both sisters would have to leave Texas to support their unit. Deployments for Soldiers are nothing new but deploying with a sister brings some unique benefits for the Gallardo sisters.

“I love being deployed with my sister; I can have conversations about military stuff and she understands,” said Eliana. “With other family members, that don’t serve, it’s more difficult because they don’t know the culture. She understands the burdens you sometimes have in the military.”

“Having a family member here, a friend, to experience everything that is going on in real time is amazing,” said Carla. “It’s also nice having each other during holidays when it can sometimes be lonely.”

Both sisters work in the logistics field which puts them right in the middle of the action for this deployment. The mission for the 1AD RSSB is to provide logistical support and sustainment for warfighters operating in Afghanistan. Support includes, but is not limited to, all classes of supplies, equipment, maintenance, transportation and anything else a warfighter needs to conduct combat operations. Sustainment brigade’s also coordinate how the supplies are delivered; airdrops, convoy’s, helicopters and boats.

“For 18 years I have been perfecting my trade as a logistician,” said Eliana. “To have the opportunity to use those skills for a mission that relies completely on logistics is rewarding.”

The Gallardo’s said they are appreciative of the support they’ve received from the leadership of the 1AD RSSB and said they were grateful for the opportunity to serve on this deployment together.

Author: Sgt. Briaira Tolbert – 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade

Gallery: America’s Tank Division gathers to observe Native American Heritage at Fort Bliss

Soldiers and civilians with 1st Armored Division, and other tenant units at Fort Bliss gathered to observe Native American Heritage and to learn about contributions made by members of Native American culture to the U.S. throughout history.

Presentations were made by Soldiers of 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, and by Sgt Maj. (R) Brandon Gangstad, Ojibway Tribe, native of Duluth, Minnesota, operations officer with 1st Armored Division “America’s Tank Division”, as well as a performance by the Ysleta del Sur Dancers.

The Ysleta del Sur Dancers perform during the 1st Armored Division Native American Heritage Observance at Fort Bliss, Texas, Nov. 20

Words by Maj. Anthony Clas – 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division Public Affairs

Photos by Sgt. Alon Humphrey

Captain continues to learn, grow during career in Army

Capt. John Sexton was working as a youth pastor in New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001. The terrorist attacks of that day compelled him to enlist in the Army, and he was 29 years old when he shipped off to basic training in March 2003.

Sexton has seen and done a lot in the Army since then, including eventually graduating from Officer Candidate School and becoming an ordnance officer. He deployed once to Kuwait as an air traffic control equipment repairer, twice to Afghanistan as an EOD officer, and once as a logistics officer with the 1st Armored Division’s Sustainment Brigade.

His Army journey eventually led him to Fort Bliss, Texas, and soon after to the U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command on Fort Bliss, where he is a logistics application officer for the Joint All-Domain Command and Control division.

Sexton had been working with the 1st Armored Division’s Sustainment Brigade on Fort Bliss when he learned of JMC. He said he interviewed with JMC because he wanted to be part of shaping the future of the Army. He was excited to learn that he would be taking part in yearly Joint Warfighting Assessments that demonstrate and assess Multi-Domain Operations concepts, capabilities and formations to prepare the Army for the future.

“It’s exciting to see the development of concepts and capabilities that ensure the Army is ready to win in a complex world,” Sexton said. “As an EOD officer, I was mainly focused on company operations and smaller things. The JMC has broadened me up to strategic-level thinking. Helping me to see the big picture of multinational operations of whole Army problems and not just ‘what does first platoon need to do today.’ It’s really broadened my perspective on the Army and given me a lot of opportunities to be a part of seeing different technologies and possible solutions to Army problems that I wouldn’t even have thought of before.”

Much of Sexton’s work with JMC focuses on NATO Logistics Functional Services, commonly known as LOGFAS. Because any future conflict will be a joint and multinational fight, so is logistics, and Sexton works through problems in an effort to have multinational sustainment officers all share information the same way.

“We still need to work on some of the human and procedural, but LOGFAS shows a lot of promise because it’s an amazing system that gives a vast amount of sustainment data,” Sexton said. “It helps you to see that overall picture of what’s going on as far as personnel, equipment, supplies, where they’re located, time and distance to get them, routes … so much information is in there. We just need to capture that opportunity and use the system.”

One of the main goals of using LOGFAS is to save time and effort by coordinating logistics and sustainment with our multinational partners. Sexton said he has enjoyed working toward solutions.

“There’s the expensive way to solve the problem, which is every country doing their own thing, or there’s the efficient way to do it, which is communicating, so that everyone knows what the plans are and who’s doing what,” Sexton said. “That’s one of the things I enjoy about my work as a logistics applications officer is I’m trying to get that interoperability and build those efficiencies into our operations with multinational partners.”

Sexton has been married to his wife, Amanda, for 21 years, and they have a daughter, 16, and a son, 12. Their son, Zane, sings in the school choir, and their daughter, Anica, is on the Americas High School swim team. The entire family is enjoying their time in El Paso.

“El Paso has a tremendous amount of parks, playgrounds and open spaces,” Sexton said. “There are great hiking opportunities in the Franklin Mountains. The pool here on Fort Bliss is amazing. There’s always stuff to do in El Paso. I took my daughter to Comic Con. We’ve been to several Chihuahuas games, and even if they lose, it’s a fun time at the ballpark.”

Though the events of Sept. 11 first inspired Sexton to join the Army, he said what has kept him in is the opportunities he’s had to continuously learn, do new things and see new places.

“I have jumped from planes and helicopters, trained in explosives and traveled around the world,” he said.

His learning experiences continue at JMC, as he learns big lessons about how the fights of the future will be waged.

“I’m thinking and learning about joint and multinational operations,” Sexton said. “How do we integrate the Navy, Air Force and Marines into operations? Are they going to be able to use this system, or do they have something similar and how can we make them communicate? How can we make sure everybody is working together? JMC is a tremendous learning experience.”

Author: Jonathan Koester –  Joint Modernization Command  

3BCT Soldier learns it takes two to earn Expert Field Medical Badge

FORT BLISS, Texas — “I walked over to the NCO of my starting lane for land navigation and I asked him, ‘Hey sergeant, do you want me to line up behind you?’” said DeMarsico as he recalled the first time he participated in EFMB qualification testing. “He said I need your name and roster number. I did not think anything of it at the time so I went out and found all four of my points. When I came back he told me I was going to be an administrative ‘no-go’ for the lane because I spoke to him.”

Recently promoted U.S. Army Spc. Thomas DeMarsico, a combat medic assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Polk, first attempted to earn the Expert Field Medical Badge at Fort Bliss, Texas. The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division hosted the special qualification testing in September.

“I attempted to rebut the decision with the board because AR 350-10 says you cannot talk to other candidates during land nav, not the cadre,” DeMarsico said. “The board denied my rebuttal. That was it; they just dropped me. I was super crushed after that. I decided at that moment I was done with EFMB and the Army.”

Similar to the expert infantry badge, the EFMB is not an easy badge to earn. Combat medics wanting to earn the coveted badge must be physically and mentally prepared to undergo rigorous testing after being recommended by their unit commanders.

Fort Polk’s 3rd BCT, 10th Mtn Div medics on temporary duty in the Fort Bliss area were invited to participate in EFMB qualification testing. When DeMarsico found out he had the opportunity to attend the testing he immediately volunteered.

“I always take every opportunity that comes my way,” DeMarsico said. “I know that EFMB really sets you apart from your peers.”

EFMB candidates must successfully receive a “go” on all five sections of EFMB testing: The Army Physical Fitness Test, a written test, land navigation, combat testing lanes and a 12-mile forced march.

Candidates must receive a score of 80% or higher in each event of the APFT and be in compliance with Army height and weight standards. The only re-testable section is the written test in which candidates must successfully answer 60 out of 80 questions.

On the second day of testing Soldiers must receive a “go” for both day and night land navigation. During the combat testing lanes medics must complete 43 tasks correctly: 10 tactical combat casualty care tasks, 10 evacuation tasks, 13 warrior skills tasks and five communication tasks.
After learning that his leadership tried to get him readmitted to the Fort Bliss qualification, DeMarsico realized that accepting defeat was not an option.

“I felt so much better knowing that they had my back,” Demarisco said. “They were willing to send us again so I was willing to try again.”
DeMarsico was afforded the opportunity to test again, this time at Fort Hood, Texas. DeMarsico, along with three other medics from 2nd Bn, 4th Inf Reg,were sent to Fort Hood to attend EFMB qualification hosted by 1st Medical Brigade. Standardization of the combat testing lanes began Sept. 23, with testing beginning Sept. 28 and ending with the forced march on Oct. 4.

One hundred and fifty-five Soldiers started the event. DeMarsico was one of six medics that successfully earned the EFMB. He was the only junior enlisted to successfully complete the qualification.

DeMarsico attributed his success to lane standardization he received at Fort Bliss.

“We tried to train up for the Bliss EFMB but it was hard to tell exactly how the lanes would be run,” DeMarsico said. “After seeing the lanes at Bliss we knew how to study. I knew what I needed to work on. It helped me a lot.”

Although DeMarsico said he felt confident about the combat testing lanes, there was another area where he did not feel as confident. A self-proclaimed land navigation expert, DeMarsico admitted the night land navigation course was tough.

The first time DeMarsico went through EFMB testing he was only able to complete day land navigation. With limited experience in navigating in the dark and a difference in terrain, DeMarsico was only able to find three out of the four points. Even though it was not a perfect score, it was enough for him to advance to the combat testing lanes. Out of the 155 that begin EFMB testing, only 19 medics passed land navigation testing.

During the final event of EFMB, nine Soldiers started the forced march but only six finished within the required three hour time limit. DeMarsico came in first place. For most Soldiers, coming in first during a timed 12-mile ruck march would feel like the crowning achievement. For DeMarsico, he felt frustration.

“My time was two hours and 56 seconds!” DeMarsico said. “Me and this major were in the lead the entire time, far ahead of everyone else. At the 11th mile marker point, the private giving directions told us to go down the wrong road. The major went a mile down that road with me trailing behind him. Luckily he had a GPS watch that told him he had hit 12 miles. He turned around, grabbed me and we went back to the 11-mile point. The private could not tell us the correct way to go. I walked into traffic and flagged down a car and asked him for directions to Cooper Field. The car drove slowly in front of us with the hazard lights and we followed him. Once I saw the finish line I sprinted to the end and came in first.”

Although he was unhappy with his finish time for the 12-mile ruck march, DeMarsico said he was thankful he was able to pass all five events of EFMB testing. He said becoming a part of the 3% of medics who earn the EFMB is just the beginning. He hopes to attend Airborne and Ranger schools in the near future. Ultimately he would like to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point and become a commissioned officer.

“West Point is my main goal,” DeMarsico said. “I want to become an officer. I feel like if I can earn my EFMB then nothing is impossible. I devote my spare time to achieving my professional goals so I am always looking for ways to improve myself.”

Hungry for more training, DeMarsico is preparing to attend the advanced combat life saver course on Fort Bliss.

“You have to want it,” said DeMarsico when asked if he had any advice for Soldiers attending future EFMB testing. “Many of the people that I saw did not have the drive that is required to pass. You have to be physically and mentally prepared. The EFMB website has so much information to help you study so you have to develop a way that will help you memorize information the easiest.”

DeMarsico encourages all Soldiers to keep trying no matter how many times they have to retest.

“I was proud to represent the brigade, 10th Mountain, 2-4 Infantry and my recon platoon,” DeMarsico said. “I showed that it is not impossible for a junior enlisted to have a shot an EFMB. It does not matter who you are; you can do it. At the end of the day it all comes down to how hard you are willing to fight for it.”

Author: Sgt. Ashley Morris  – 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division 

Meet the Leaders: Maj. Gen. Patrick Matlock “Fort Bliss is Awesome from Top to Bottom.”

When Maj. Gen. Patrick Matlock found out he and his family would be returning to Fort Bliss, it was “like a dream come true.”

That’s how Matlock described how he felt when he learned about his latest assignment — as the new commander of the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss.

The 53-year-old from Willows, California, had previously served at Fort Bliss as the 1st Armored Division’s chief of staff from July 2012 to February 2014.

He returned this summer and took command of both the division and installation on July 12.

“It was such a great surprise to learn we were coming back here,” Matlock said.

“We were so pleased. It was definitely the first choice of what we wanted to do.”

Matlock, his wife and their children enjoyed their previous time here and grew to really love both Fort Bliss and El Paso.

“We feel very comfortable here in El Paso and at Fort Bliss,” Matlock said. “It is such a great town and such a great community. Fort Bliss is awesome from top to bottom.”

Most recently, Matlock served as the director of training for the Army staff at the Pentagon.

When he was at Fort Bliss previously, he was instrumental in helping to get the 1st Armored Division established after it moved from Germany under the Base Realignment and Closure process.

He served under commanding generals Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard and then under Lt. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, who was promoted to a three-star general after leaving Fort Bliss. Both Pittard and MacFarland are now retired.

Matlock expects his latest assignment at Fort Bliss to be just as busy if not busier.

The division’s 3rd Brigade recently deployed to South Korea. Its 1st Brigade finished up a rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and will convert from a Stryker infantry brigade to an armored brigade during the next 18 to 24 months.

The 2nd Brigade returned from a nine-month deployment to Kuwait this summer, and the Combat Aviation Brigade is gearing up to deploy to Afghanistan next year.

The division headquarters deployed to Iraq under Matlock’s predecessor,  Maj. Gen. Robert “Pat” White, and returned in March. The headquarters is ramping up its training again and recently went through a Warfighter exercise at Fort Bliss. It is the division headquarters’ version of a National Training Center rotation.

The Sustainment Brigade will continue to train and will have a mission announced in the next few months.

“There is no unit in the division that doesn’t have an announced mission or an anticipated mission,” Matlock said.

Fort Bliss is also providing troops, equipment and support for the controversial border operation ordered by President Donald Trump.

President Trump ordered up to 5,000 troops to provide support to the Border Patrol and other civilian authorities along the border in response to a caravan of migrants traveling through Mexico to the United States.

Matlock said his number one priority is to build readiness and make sure the division and all its units are ready for any mission that may lie ahead.

“We are singularly focused on making sure our personnel is ready, we have the right equipment in the right place to perform our missions, that our equipment is well maintained, operational, all the maintenance is complete and soldiers are trained  — everything from individual weapon qualifications through our collective training, whether company, battalion or division level,” Matlock said.

“That is it,” he added. “There isn’t any other priority we have.”

Of course, Matlock wants to make sure that military families are taken care, that the installation is run smoothly and that Fort Bliss remains a good neighbor to El Paso.

“El Paso can expect the division and all the units to be busy and stay busy,” Matlock said. “They will see units coming and going for the foreseeable future. It means a lot to us that we leave our families here in this community and they are well cared for, that they are in safe patriotic community that supports the military.”

“We always want to thank them for that and we will work as hard as we can to make sure that relationship stays strong,” Matlock continued.

*
By David Burge/Special for the Herald-Post

Burge is a producer at ABC-7 in El Paso. He has more than three decades of experience working in newspapers in California, New Mexico and Texas

Keep an eye out for more “Meet the Leader” profiles in future editions of the Herald-Post. To read previous profiles, click here.

Fort Bliss’ 1st Armored Division Participates in Warfighter Exercise

The 1st Armored Division participated in the Warfighter 19-2 exercise, across several training sites here in the sprawling military installation in preparation for future contingency operations.

Warfighter was the culminating event of a series of training exercises held by America’s Tank Division over the past six months. The exercise assessed 1AD’s ability to manage, direct and synchronize across multiple brigades aimed to train and improve operational readiness, warfighting functions, and effectiveness across the Division staff, and units assigned.

“Every Soldier, every process was tested, and we learned a great deal. All of these things are extremely important to the success of our Division and it’s especially great to train with our joint teammates in this environment,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Matlock, commanding general of the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss.

“When you come to Warfighter you got to take advantage of every minute. We are extremely proud of the men and women of this Division for their excellence and professionalism. The MCTP [Mission Command Training Program] provided us a tough scenario and challenged every section throughout the exercise.”

The Mission Command Training Program team from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, sent several observer-coach/trainers (OC/T’s) to Fort Bliss to oversee the exercise and give expert feedback and guidance to each staff section. Each OC/T is a subject matter expert in their respective field and provides professional insight for the sections’ development.

The 1st Armored Division was evaluated on multiple collective training tasks ranging from maneuvers to communications, staff processes, and establishing and re-establishing its command post between multiple training sites.

Soldiers were also tested on their individual skills sets such as CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) procedures, properly wearing their Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear, setting up firing positions, and collaboration abilities to move the division’s main command post.

“I spent 20 of my 44 years on active duty with this great Division,” said Ret. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, who served as the senior mentor during the Warfighter 19-2 exercise. “You have warmed my heart, and I could not be more proud of “Old IronSides.”

The most daunting task during Warfighter was the movement of the division’s main command post, which involves transporting large pieces of equipment, and sensitive items such as computers and communications equipment. In additional the movement of dozens of military vehicles and hundreds of personnel can come with many logistical challenges.

“This task is extremely complex because we have operations elements [teams of Soldiers] conducting recon, surveying engineering aspects to secure a location, and the ability to get to terrain.” said Lt. Col. A. Geoff Miller, commander of the Headquarters Battalion, 1st Armored Division.

Miller, a native of Roswell, N.M., added that his Soldiers were vital to ensuring that critical equipment was moved in a timely manner to conduct military operations effectively.

The exercise also served as a learning experience for the unit’s youngest Soldiers.

“The best thing I learned was to keep your composure and trust in your team,” said Pfc. JerMichael Bunch, from Kingston, Penn., who serves as a fire control specialist with the division’s fires section. “You’re always moving, and fire missions accumulate. I didn’t realize how important I was until Warfighter. I like what I do, and I love my section. They prepared me to see the bigger picture.”

The Warfighter exercise was not exclusive to the 1st Armored Division and included several units across the U.S. Army. The 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia, the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the III Corps staff from Fort Hood, Texas also participated in this large-scale exercise.

For the Iron Soldiers, this exercise is a key milestone in the division’s ongoing journey of training and operational readiness.

“I’ve seen vast improvements along the way,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Yurgans, senior enlisted advisor of Headquarters Battalion, 1st Armored Division. “We are proud of our preparations and efforts put in by our Soldiers, to work as a team and come together.”

The Warfighter 19-2 exercise ran from November 4-15.

Author: Spc. Karen Lawshae  – 1st Armored Division

1st Armored Division Soldiers win 2018 U.S. Army Best Medic Competition

SAN ANTONIO – After more than 72 hours of continuous competition, 27 teams have been narrowed down to one. Staff Sgts. Cory Glasgow and Branden Mettura, 1st Armored Division (1st AD), have won this year’s U.S. Army Best Medic Competition.

The Soldiers’ preparation began long before the start of this competition. Each competitor earned the title Best Medic at their respective commands before continuing their journey to the ABMC at Camp Bullis, Texas.

“I feel super pumped, super excited,” said Glasgow. “This was my fourth time competing.”

“We sat down and studied, specifically TC3 (Tactical Combat Casualty Care),” said Mettura. “We weren’t really prepared for the prolonged primary field care, but luckily Cory has taken some courses, so we really relied on his knowledge and expertise in that area.”

“Prolonged field care is the future of Army Medicine,” Glasgow continued. “I’m going to train my medics in prolonged field care because that’s the new focus. Medics will have to sit with patients for a prolong period of time. They need to focus on how they’re going to save that person’s life.”

“We’re really excited to represent the 1st AD,” said Mettura. “We’re bringing this home to them.”

In a ceremony at Blesse Auditorium on Fort Sam Houston, Command Sgt. Major Michael L. Gragg, U.S. Army Medical Command, talked about how the competitors are the future of Army Medicine.

“As you can see from these great Americans, you can see our future is great,” said Gragg. “For as long as conflict involves humans, there will be Army Medicine. You Soldiers are what make us global, expeditionary, and medically competent. I’m proud of you.”

“Please understand, this competition is a spring board for Army Medicine to continue to care for America’s sons and daughters,” said Gragg.

Staff Sgt. Cory Glasgow and Staff Sgt. Branden Mettura, 1st Armor Division ruck through the terrain during the land navigation course of the 2018 Army Best Medic Competition, Sept. 18, 2018 | U.S. Army photo by David E. Gillespie

For more than two decades, the Army Best Medic Competition has challenged Soldier-Medics throughout the Army in an extreme test of medical and soldier skills.

Originally fashioned after the Army’s Best Ranger Competition, the first Best Medic competition was held in 1994 at Fort McClellan, Alabama.

Competitors must be agile, adaptive leaders who demonstrate mature judgment while testing collective team skills in areas of physical fitness, tactical marksmanship, leadership, warrior skills, land navigation, and overall knowledge of medical, technical and tactical proficiencies through a series of hands-on tasks in a simulated operational environment.

1st Armored Division, America’s Tank Division, is an active component, U.S. Army, armored division located at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The division consists of approximately 17,000 highly-trained Soldiers with a lethal mix of combat capabilities including tanks, artillery, attack helicopters, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Stryker Combat Vehicles, transport helicopters, and robust sustainment capabilities.

Story by Courtney Dock – U.S. Army Medical Command

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