Guest Columnist July 2, 2019NewsComments Off on Ft. Bliss’ Bulldog Brigade Retains the Best while in South Korea
CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – “Giving all I got. I ain’t never going to stop. Army changed my life…” Lyrics to the “Giving All I Got” U.S. Army Recruiter Anthem plays on as 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Bulldog”, 1st Armored Division (Rotational), 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, exceeds their retention expectations while forward deployed to the Republic of Korea for a nine-month rotation.
The 3ABCT, 1AD deployed to the Korean Peninsula and has been conducting combined training with their ROK Army allies since September 2018 to provide 2ID/ROK-US Combined Division with fully trained units for an increased overall readiness posture and still managed to exceed the Army retention standard.
“First of all, I would like to say that our Soldiers out here (Republic of Korea) were very motivated, and pure readiness played a factor in our retention program,” said Command Sgt. Major Michael Oliver, native of Detroit, Michigan and senior enlisted advisor to 3ABCT, 1AD. “We were the first brigade to close out our mission from the three large brigades in 1st Armored Division – Strike, Ready, and us Bulldogs.”
Bulldog Brigade has conducted more than 230 training and cultural events, in terms of combined training exercises to increase interoperability; as well as community partnership activities to further strengthen the ROK-US alliance throughout their deployment. However, meeting retention goals did not come without its challenges.
“We exceeded what we were supposed to for the first half (of the fiscal year), but it was definitely one of the more challenging missions I’ve ever had because we began with a huge disadvantage,” said Master Sgt. Nicholas Thompson, native of Las Cruces, New Mexico and career counselor for 3ABCT, 1AD.
“When the mission started on October 1st, Main Body 1 (first deployment flight from home station to Korea) was leaving, so we really didn’t even start retention actions until mid-November, almost December.”
Bonuses, duty station and assignments of choice are some of the incentives offered to Soldiers by career counselors to entice retention, however, career counselors at each unit also have to take other aspects into consideration that may impact a Soldiers decision to re-enlist.
“What is making the soldiers disgruntled? What is the problem? Are they being taken care of as far as their finances go?” he said. “We get involved in their personal stuff. We’ll even have spouses call and ask questions because it’s their career too. There’s a lot involved.”
Unit career counselors also have to consider the quality of individuals they are able to retain because continuation of service is not guaranteed. Military service is regarded as a privilege, not a right, due to the responsibility, risk, and high-operational tempo each service member will be required to face during their tour of duty.
“I believe serving in the Army is a privilege and we should only retain the best of the best in the military,” said Oliver. “We’re glad to have Soldiers serve, and we appreciate all of those who want to stay, but this is a hard job and we need the best for the Army from our American society.”
Field Artillery Capt. Christopher M. Dixon, an officer assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment in the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team stationed at Fort Bliss, was recently selected as the winner of the prestigious Edmund L. Gruber Award for 2018.
Named after former Brig. Gen. l Edmund L. Gruber, a decorated artillery officer who penned and composed the official Army Song, only one field artillery Soldier is selected for this prominent award every year by the Fires Center of Excellence in Fort Sill, Ok. The award recognizes “superb individual thought, innovation and overall excellence that results in significant contributions to or the enhancement of the Field Artillery’s war fighting capabilities.”
Capt. Dixon served as a battalion fire direction officer for his unit, bringing about innovation through the development and implementation of new firing techniques for the M777 howitzer while at the National Training Center Rotation 19-01 last autumn. In addition, Capt. Dixon was also directly responsible for playing a major role in the betterment of his unit and development of his subordinates.
He designed a physically challenging test that was implemented by his unit which produced measurable data of the physical readiness of soldiers in the battalion. He also designed and implemented a junior officer certification program for use in his unit that ensured professionalism and competence in new leaders.
Capt. Dixon said winning the Gruber Award was a great honor but stated he couldn’t have achieved this accomplishment alone.
“This is an individual recognition, but artillery is always a team fight, a culmination of the efforts of many individuals. Without a combined team effort as a unit every day to accomplish the mission, none of us would be able to achieve anything.”
Capt. Dixon, who is currently serving as a battery commander in 2-3 FA, also said his main priority during his time as fire direction officer was to help the battalion fight its battles and accomplish its mission.
Guest Columnist June 23, 2019NewsComments Off on 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team Converts to Armored Brigade
After almost two decades of conducting counterinsurgency and stability operations, the Army is pivoting its strategic focus to countering the threat of near-peer adversaries.
Part of its strategy is to add more firepower and protection to its force with the addition of a 16th armored brigade combat team.
On June 20, the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team (Ready First Brigade) of the 1st Armored Division conducted a ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas to officially convert the brigade into the Army’s newest armored brigade combat team.
Distinguished guests from the Fort Bliss and El Paso community watched two of the brigade’s infantry regiments convert into armor regiments. Guests also took part in a large social event for the brigade’s members and families, alumni of the new armor regiments, and members of the El Paso community.
Last September, the Army directed the Ready First Brigade, to convert to an armored brigade. Since then, the brigade turned in more than 300 Stryker vehicles and is expected to begin receiving Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Paladin artillery systems, and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) this summer.
“Today’s conversion ceremony represented a significant change for the 1st Armored Division as our 1st Brigade Combat Team will now be manned and equipped to accomplish Army-assigned missions which require armor assets,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Cobb, 1st Armored Division. “The soldier formation representing the newly minted 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team looked strong as ever standing and marching on the Ready First parade field as veterans and local community members witnessed this historic event. I am truly proud of our Ready First soldiers who represent America’s Tank Division.”
The focus of the conversion ceremony was to commemorate the approximately 80 years of brigade history while also celebrating this significant moment. The brigade commander, Col. Michael J. Trotter, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
“Today is a celebration that’s important not just to the Ready First Combat Team, the 1st Armored Division, but perhaps more importantly, our Army and our nation,” Trotter said. “We are celebrating this conversion from a Stryker brigade combat team to an armored brigade combat team but make no mistake about it, this is about enhancing our strategic readiness and our strategic lethality. We now stand on the cusp of 2020 and we face evolving threats to this great nation. As we have always done, we adapt to face those threats to our democracy no matter where they may come from. Today we face threats from near-peer adversaries that are more real today than at any time since the 1980s.”
In conjunction with the conversion of the brigade, 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment (Rifles) redesignated as 4th Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment (Thunderbolts) and 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment (Buffaloes) redesignated as 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment (Iron Dukes). The historic 41st and 17th infantry regiments can both trace their lineage back to the Civil War, while the 37th and 70th armor regiments trace their origins back to the beginning of America’s tank force.
The brigade will participate in new equipment training, which will take approximately a year to fully develop its armor capabilities in preparation for future contingency missions.
The addition of a third armored brigade combat team marks the first time that all of the division’s maneuver brigades are armored-based since the division resided in Germany circa 2008. Having similar formations within the division greatly enhances efficiencies in personnel and equipment support across the division.
Fort Bliss was chosen as the site of the Army’s 16th armored brigade because it is the most efficient and effective installation based on a military value analysis (MVA) of such aspects as existing maneuver land, training facilities, deployment infrastructure, and quality of life for Soldiers and families.
Guest Columnist May 2, 2019NewsComments Off on U.S. Army Chaplain and Powerlifter uses his faith to uplift himself
Going above and beyond is what a Soldier is known for and why it is such a respected profession in the US.
For Chaplain (Capt.) Bryan Kimble, the desire to serve in the military came from his father who once served on active duty in the same battalion Kimble is assigned to today: The 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, part of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
“I grew up with such a strong love and appreciation for those who serve our Republic, and later I found out that many in my family served- in fact over a dozen in our nation’s War for Independence,” said Kimble. “As I continued to pray for those serving, I felt God working on my heart to serve the nation and our Soldiers, and I rose my right hand to swear in.”
This “Bandit Shepard”, however, is not your ordinary chaplain. His passion for weightlifting allowed him to represent the “Bandits” during the 2019 Natural Athlete Strength Association Texas Championship in the MPF (Military, Police, and Firefighter) and Masters-Pure division of 198 lbs. weight class for both Power Sports and Unequipped Push Pull.
“Power Sports is strict curls, bench press and deadlift,” explained Kimble. “It is raw- no support equipment but a 4-inch belt. Unequipped Push Pull is a bench press and deadlift- also raw.”
Both divisions require drug free lifters; MPF with three years of being drug free and Masters-Pure, a lifetime.
Overall, he placed first in each of these divisions for his weight class: first overall (based off coefficient) for Power Sports, and forth for the Push-Pull event.
In this process, he also set six Texas state records – four in Power Sports and two in Push/Pull. He is now on the National Top 250 Rankings at 22nd for Power Sports and 34th for the Push/Pull event.
To complete such a feat comes from a strong support system that he has found in his faith and his “best-half,” Jessica.
“They give me strength and motivation to get up to hit the gym at 5 a.m. prior to unit physical training.”
Kimble had to go through many obstacles to get to the level of competitor he is today. He had to undergo surgery for severe migraines in 2017, which led to an extreme recovery phase.
“The medical professionals would not allow me to complete more than four reps, let alone compete,” he said. “I had to gradually take time after the surgery to recover and start working towards completing a one-mile run again.”
He knew, due to his faith, that he would recover and be able to pursue his passion through hard work and continued dedication.
He urges Soldiers to also go after their passion and offers his story to help them see the positive in down times.
“Make sure you are doing it all for the right reasons,” warns Kimble. “Learn proper techniques prior to pushing yourself and stay away from short cuts such as performance enhancing drugs. Overall, never accept defeat. If you fail, then learn and adapt but never accept it as a defeat.”
Guest Columnist May 1, 2019NewsComments Off on 1st Armored Soldiers work together to save a battle buddy’s life
CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – Combat medics, trained to provide care at a moment’s notice, demonstrated their technical competence as they performed lifesaving steps to a battle buddy clinging to life.
“I poked my head in (the room) and I saw him on his back,” said Sgt. Justin Shove, combat medic specialist and Marysville, Washington native, 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment “Regulars,” 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (Rotational).
Shove ran into his suitemate’s room and witnessed Cpl. Michael Decoeur, Crawfordville, Florida, combat medic specialist, 4-6 Inf. Regt., unconscious, eyes wide open, his skin turning blue and gasping for air at Camp Humphreys, Republic of Korea, Feb. 20. Decoeur was having a heart attack.
“His body was compensating for the fact that his heart stopped,” said Shove.
Shove checked Decoeur’s pulse and noticed his heart rate was weak, but steady. He contacted Sgt. Juan Ramos, Phoenix, Arizona native, platoon sergeant, 4th Bn. 6th Inf. Regt., who called 911 to send emergency medical services to the barracks.
Shove then left the room and banged on Spc. Joel Galavez, 4-6 Inf. Regt. combat medic specialist and San Jacinto, California native, screaming his name, then returned to Decoeur’s side to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Ramos soon arrived and the three medics provided CPR in shifts until EMS arrived at the scene.
“The EMS personnel kind of worked around us,” said Ramos, 4-6 Inf. Regt. “They could tell we knew what we were doing. We kept performing CPR until the emergency medical technicians had to take Deceour to the hospital.”
Decoeur was transferred to Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital in Dongtan in critical condition. He was later medically evacuated to Tripler Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii for advanced care and rehabilitation.
Decoeur’s teammates credit constant training and the high state of readiness enforced throughout the brigade for their actions on that day.
“It was really no time to be scared,” said Ramos. “We saw what we needed to do and luckily we had a positive outcome to where he has the best chance to make a full recovery.”
Decoeur’s status has since improved.
“When your leadership says, ‘you gain muscle memory by doing it over and over again,’ it’s true,” said Ramos. “I was surprised at how fast it comes back to you when you are put in a situation that actually requires the knowledge.”
Guest Columnist April 10, 2019NewsComments Off on Dakota Family ‘Leads the Way’ as Staff Sgt. Earns Ranger Tab
“Rangers Lead the Way!” The U.S. Army Ranger motto symbolizes its unique mission set; the ability to deploy forces within 18 hours of notification.
One of the requirements to be an Army Ranger is to complete the grueling 61-day Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. This arduous task requires training and support from loved ones.
Staff Sgt. Austin Forby, cavalry scout, 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment “Dakota,” 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (Rotational), graduated from Ranger Class 04-19 at Fort Benning, Georgia, April 5. His wife, Emily, and son, Kason, were there to see him earn the highly-coveted Ranger Tab.
“Without a strong family support network I would have never made it through Ranger School,” said Forby. “The letters I received from my family and friends really helped push me through the hard times.”
The Forby family comes from the small town of Benton, Illinois, which continued to support them throughout Cole’s military service and multiple deployments.
“I, along with different family members and community members at home wrote him over 100 letters,” said Emily Forby, who is also the family readiness group leader for Troop A, 2-13th Cav. Regt. “We come from a small town that really supports Cole in everything he does.”
Cole is preparing to join the rest of 2-13th Cav. Regt. forward in the Republic of Korea assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division in the coming weeks.
Emily and Kason will continue to support their troop as he goes forward along with the rest of his support network from back home, who kept him going through Ranger School.
“After I made some posts on Facebook about Austin being at Ranger School, I had lots of people ask for his address so they could write him,” she said. “Our hometown is amazing with support.”
Guest Columnist April 5, 2019NewsComments Off on Fort Bliss’ 2nd ABCT Strengthening U.S., Polish alliance one exercise at a time
DRAWSKO POMORSKIE, Poland – Spectators watch closely as U.S. and Polish tanks crawl over the hill in a tactical formation before firing, sending shock waves across the training area as the artillery rounds hit the impact area.
Mariusz Blaszczak, the Polish Minister of National Defense, and Col. Patrick Michaelis, the commander of the Mission Command Element in Poznan, Poland, are among the crowd observing a multinational maneuvering demonstration in Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland.
“Today’s training could have only happened with the close coordination between our two nations,” said Michaelis. “It shows the strength of the alliance and our friendship.”
The demonstration featured Soldiers from 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division out of Fort Bliss, Texas, and Polish Soldiers with the 12th Mechanized Brigade, 12th Mechanized Division out of Szczecin, Poland participating in a live-fire exercise and a static display of Polish and American armored military vehicles.
The 1st Armored Division Soldiers deployed to Europe at the direction of the Secretary of Defense to exercise the U.S. Army’s ability to rapidly alert, recall and deploy under emergency conditions.
“What we have just witnessed was the exercise between the Polish Armed forces and U.S. troops in Drawsko Pomorskie,” said Blaszczak. “This is very important because it shows this was an allied training within the North Atlantic Alliance. The commander of this exercise [Col. Chad Chalfont, commander of 2ABCT] approached me and said this exercise is not organized because the Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Poland visited this training arrangement, this is daily training being conducted in Drawsko Pomorskie.”
This exercise highlighted the U.S. and Polish strong partnership, cooperation, and U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance by working closely with each other.
“I have to say that the 12th Brigade is very proud to be a part of this training. Because of the unique training opportunity, we were able to use U.S. military equipment and understand their operational functions,” said Col. Slawomir Dudczak, the commander of the 12th Mechanized Division out of Szczecin, Poland. “We really gained a new experience. I’m very happy that my sub-units will be able to participate in the training for the next seven days to implement new strategies that we have learned over this exercise.”
The Soldiers work together, shoulder to shoulder, to integrate and build stronger relations for future joint exercises.
“Today, three days before the 70th Anniversary of NATO, an alliance we are all committed to, we are well represented by Polish and the U.S. Soldiers that you see,” said Michaelis.
“As they sharpen the art and science of putting steel on target, it is a clear expression of combined strength, interoperability and determination. Today’s demonstration of the dynamic enforcement of U.S. forces across oceans, across continents without warning and without notice, serves as a demonstration of our capacity, of our mutual commitment, and our mutual resolve…it’s an Atlantic Resolve.”
Guest Columnist April 3, 2019NewsComments Off on Fort Bliss’ own Bulldog Brigade service members walk to remember
CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – Soldiers and Airmen with 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Bulldogs,” 1st Armored Division (Rotational) conducted a road march to honor fallen service members during an 8th Annual Tactical Air Control Party Association 24-Hour Challenge at Camp Humphreys.
The TACP Association is a veteran run 501(c) 19 non-profit organization that raises funds to support Air Force TACP members and their families.
“It’s a great event,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Lawton, native of Olympia, Washington, and joint terminal attack controller, 3rd ABCT. “We do it annually to support the TACP Association, which supports the family members and the community of injured and fallen TACPs in times of need.”
The TACP Association 24-Hour Challenge is a run/ruck event open to all services to show their support; and another opportunity to build camaraderie across the joint force.
“I’d say it’s for a great cause, and it kind of just brings everyone together since we work with the Army,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Charles Ashton, native of Edmond, Oklahoma, and JTAC for 3rd ABCT. “We just go out to the different brigades we’re working with, let them know (about the event), and if people are on Air Force bases, they (other services with similar events) do the same thing.”
Advertisement for the TACP 24-Hour Challenge at Camp Humphreys was conducted across all social media, Armed Forces Radio, flyer dissemination, and word-of-mouth.
“For me, it’s a way to support the military as a whole, shed some light on the event, especially when it comes to wounded warriors and families of fallen Soldiers,” said U.S. Army Capt. Bielosa Aworh, Cincinnati, Ohio native and civil affairs planner,3rd ABCT.
For most Soldiers and Airmen, this is not the only remembrance event they’ve done to show their support to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I’ve done the Bataan Death March twice before,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Charles Koch, native of Anacoco, Louisiana and provost marshal officer,3rd ABCT. “So this is another opportunity for me to walk and remember the fallen.”
Preparation for an event of this magnitude is no easy feat. However, since being physically fit is a requirement of service members as a whole, the TACP 24-Hour Challenge is not an unattainable goal.
“The mental part’s pretty easy… I mean, you know it’s going to be rough, so you just get through it,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Justin Lauro, native of Springfield, Virginia, and psychological operations planner, 3rd ABCT. “The physical part is just day-in and day-out sticking with your physical fitness plan, and it prepares you for this. So you’re ready when you have to do something big.”
For eight years Soldiers and Airmen have supported the TACP’s 24-Hour Challenge, which helps the association continue to assist wounded Airmen and Families of fallen heroes in the TACP Community.
Guest Columnist March 24, 2019NewsComments Off on School Days: Fort Bliss NCO earns coveted spot in prestigious academic program
There’s an incomparable force of energy that always travels right alongside this dedicated Soldier as she readily takes on new challenges and excels during her assigned missions.
It’s a passion heard in her voice and an intrigue seen in her eyes. These positive vibes define her as she continues to raise the bar and motivate other service members to follow her lead.
Her energetic passion is what led Staff Sgt. Felicia Jagdatt, who serves as the public affairs non-commissioned officer in charge for the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, to earn a coveted seat in the Military Visual Journalism Program at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.
This 10-month curriculum focuses on teaching its students to become better storytellers taking courses in communications, photo and digital journalism, photography, design, sound and documentary production. Upon completion, students will earn 30 credits of college coursework.
Jagdatt competed among her peers for one of only four Army slots awarded to public affairs professionals. She will begin her course of study this summer, and said she is looking forward to starting this new chapter in her career.
“I was so excited, and at first I couldn’t believe it,” she said, “It took a while for me to absorb everything, then I ran to tell my commander and called my family members.”
The 28-year-old expressed that she is not only hoping that this experience will enhance her storytelling abilities to tell the U.S. Army’s story in our society’s ever-changing information environment, but it will also help her become a better leader to mentor her future Soldiers.
“Our future is information-and a big part of every war is information skills,” said the New York native. “I want to become a better mentor and teacher to our Soldiers. Any person that has a skill-and then develops that skill-becomes an asset to the entire Army.”
This fast-paced noncommissioned officer is no stranger to hard work. She monitors her career progression and personal goals through detailed Excel spreadsheets. She said these reminders keep her career path goals on track and within reach.
“I use these spreadsheets daily to stay challenged and competitive. These stats help track where I should be at this point of my career. It puts my ‘Why’ into perspective and keeps me moving,” she said.
So how else does this seven-year Army veteran stay motivated? By telling the Soldier’s story!
As a military public affairs professional, she says that taking photos, producing videos and writing stories is her passion, as well as getting to know each Soldier and bringing their story to light.
Although she has already earned her Master’s degree in Policy and Government, Jagdatt said she ‘loves the idea of going back to school’ and is ready to take on her new role as a communication and journalism student.
“This new experience gives me a chance to indulge with my peers from all of the branches of service, share my perspective, and learn from theirs,” she said “I want to absorb all the pockets of the military. This will help me experience the moving and diverse pieces of this puzzle that makes us so powerful.”
The Newhouse School’s Military Visual Journalism program has four competitive slots throughout each of the Armed Services including the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. The goal is to cross train each student, take them out of their comfort zone and bring their storytelling skills to an advanced level to share with other service members and better communicate the military’s story with the American people.
One of the key pieces leading to Jagdatt being considered for the program was her strong application, which included a firm print and video portfolio, as well as letters of recommendation from senior leadership. She has been recognized by the El Paso community as well as Army leaders assigned to Fort Bliss.
Capt. Lindsay Roman, the public affairs officer for the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, described Jagdatt as hardworking and professional. Roman said that although has only worked with Jagdatt for less than a year, she has seen this NCO grow. “She always keeps herself one step ahead and brings her ‘A game’ to the table every day.”
Jagadatt’s key mentor throughout the application process was Master Sgt. Alex Licea, assigned as the NCOIC for the 1st Armored Division’s Public Affairs office. Licea said her passion, motivation and great personality emulate what every leader looks for in a Soldier and NCO.
“She’s a self- motivated, positive force who is consistently growing and learning,” said Licea. “Jagdatt is not afraid to ask for advice and guidance, and she is always looking to challenge herself. I know she will continue to grow within the public affairs career field and our Army.”
Throughout his 17 years in the Army, Licea noted that he has trained Soldiers across the globe, and Jagdatt stands out as being one of the best Soldiers and junior NCOs he has ever mentored; demonstrating all of the attributes to become a future leader.
“I know that she will move forward and this broadening opportunity can elevate her to the next level. She is meant to be a future leader and is completely dedicated to telling the Army and the Soldier story,” said Licea. “If she continues on this path, without a doubt, she is a future sergeant major.”
Guest Columnist February 12, 2019NewsComments Off on Bulldog Brigade Continues to Build Legacy in the Republic of Korea
CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – The Army’s first priority is readiness – ensuring our Soldiers have the tools and training they need to be lethal and ready to fight and win, as stated by Army Secretary Mark Esper.
The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Bulldog,” 1st Armored Division (Rotational Unit) has been deployed to the Republic of Korea since September 2018 as the sixth rotational brigade to support the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-US Combined Division.
“When we arrived here on the ground last October, I told 2ID (2ID/RUCD) we were ready to take over from Raider Brigade (1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division) and support our U.S. and ROK Allies,” said Col. Marc Cloutier, Marlborough, Connecticut native and commander of 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
The Bulldog Brigade stayed busy maintaining their readiness posture during the first half of the deployment, conducting several combined small-arms and crew-served weapons ranges, field artillery gunnery ranges, sling-load and air assault exercises, and other training exercises to build the brigade’s proficiency in warrior tasks, which enhances their ability to shoot, move, communicate, survive, and adapt in any contingency.
“Since our arrival, Bulldog Soldiers have shown just that. We have done a number of individual and crew served weapons ranges; fired our Artillery and Mortar crews; maneuvered our tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, and participated in a number of combined operations with our ROK Allies,” said Cloutier. “Most notably, we were assigned 13 ROK officers to our brigade and battalion staffs to make us a truly combined staff. These officers just returned from a month-long training exercise at our National Training Center in California. These ROK officers and NCOs (non-commissioned officers) will become the continuity for the next rotational force, and that’s a great thing for the 2ID/RUCD.”
“Fight tonight” is a hallmark readiness phrase shared across the U.S. Army and allied militaries as if it were the new Army motto. However, training is not the only focus for Bulldog Brigade during its deployment. The rotational unit has circulated its personnel through several cultural awareness events across the Korean Peninsula to learn the customs and rich history of its ROK Allies.
“Our Soldiers are embedded in the social fabric here on the ROK,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Oliver, a native of Detroit, Michigan, senior enlisted advisor for 3rd ABCT, 1st AD. “We’ve experienced multiple cultural awareness events since we arrived to include the Shinhan University Head Start program, multiple outreach events in the surrounding communities at Camps Humphreys and Casey, and continue to learn and develop ourselves alongside our KATUSAs (Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army) and ROK Army Soldiers.”
The brigade has a multitude of cultural awareness and readiness training events planned for the remainder of their deployment. Future training opportunities will afford the rotational Soldiers the ability to increase interoperability with their ROK Army Allies and further immerse their Soldiers in Korean culture fostering the strong alliance shared between the combined force.
“Going forward, we have a great lineup in the next few months,” said Cloutier. “We’ll be on the ranges shooting gunnery, we’ll be conducting more combined operations with our ROK allies, and finally, we’ll be preparing our Soldiers and equipment to return this summer to our families at Ft. Bliss, Texas. They have been the stalwarts of our brigade, supporting us every day in the execution of our tasks. We couldn’t do this without their involvement.”
Every Soldier understands the importance of their feet to complete Army missions and rely on their boots to remain sturdy, comfortable and flexible, which is why the U.S. Army is completing a test to eventually issue new hot weather combat boots.
At the beginning of 2019, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) kicked off testing four different prototypes of Army hot weather combat boots to receive feedback from Soldiers and ultimately improve the issued combat boots, said Anita Perkins, the technical lead for the boot evaluation with NSRDEC.
Perkins went on to say that a Congressional survey showed “over half of the Soldiers who participated noted they purchased commercial boots once the initial entry phase was complete. That is how we knew that there was some needed improvements. This, then, became an opportunity for us to now take advantage of the current technology and manufacturing footwear industry processes.”
“We started off in a study that compiled the ten most liked boots, which then led us to the four prototypes that we have now,” said Jay McNamara, another footwear research engineer at NSRDEC. “They are meant to be more lightweight, flexible and comfortable. It’s meant to really improve a Soldier’s quality of life.”
Last week, NSRDEC gave out the prototyped boots to approximately 800 Soldiers of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, to initiate a four-month long study with the Iron Soldiers.
“I understand why the Army chose the Iron Brigade to conduct this test,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael C. Williams, senior enlisted advisor to 2 ABCT. “Our Soldier’s mission is extremely diverse and will provide a wide array of feedback for the Army’s research and development of new combat boots. I’m glad we can help the Army figure this out while we train on combined arms maneuver. The tough, realistic training we are conducting in very rugged terrain and austere conditions will certainly give the Army plenty of data to facilitate the best decision being made. The deserts and mountains of Fort Bliss will test this equipment to the fullest and will ensure it is capable of meeting the needs of today’s Soldiers.”
With the training posture of 2 ABCT, NSRDEC hopes “to come back after four months to collect the data, which will then go on to make real improvements to the hot weather combat boots for all future Soldiers,” says McNamara.
This team has a personal tie with this mission to create a new way to maneuver- which is one of comfort.
“One of the best feelings I have is being able to see a Soldier put their foot in a boot and look at me wanting to hug me,” explained Perkins. “Just in the initial issuing of the boots, the Soldiers are giving great feedback; but, nothing’s official yet until we complete the entire study.”
Pfc. Austin Tryon, an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, says, “I am definitely excited about the new boots that we may be getting. The old ones, even though they were the right size felt like they were too long. Well, the inside fit too tight, but the outsides were very big.”
Tryon goes on to say, “I had to purchase my own boots, but that was starting to get really expensive. This is definitely a step up as far as Army issued boots go.”
“A study like this goes to show that Soldier’s voices are being listened to and steps are being made to mitigate their grievances,” said Capt. Lucas Makens, an assistance planner with 2 ABCT. “As we move forward, we hope that Soldiers continue to speak out their opinion in these surveys to improve the future of the Army.”
Guest Columnist December 1, 2018NewsComments Off on Meet the Leaders: British Brig. Gen. Leigh R. Tingey -“El Paso is an Amazing Place.”
After just a few short months, British Brig. Gen. Leigh R. Tingey and his family have fallen in love with El Paso and Fort Bliss.
The 48-year-old Cambridge native took over as the new deputy commanding general for maneuver for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss in late August.
“In 28 years in the British Army, I have never seen a relationship as close with the local community as there is between El Paso and Fort Bliss,” he said.
“El Paso is an amazing place. My wife (Kerry) and I have fallen in love with it,” Tingey continued. “The people are so friendly. The weather is glorious. The weather, the culture, the food, the environment and the mountains you have here. We have traveled a bit into the local area – three, four hours away – and it is quite amazing.”
Tingey is just the second general from the United Kingdom to serve as a deputy commanding general for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss. He succeeds British Brig. Gen. Frazer Lawrence, who served as a deputy commanding general for three years.
Tingey’s three children – Ben, 17; Olivia, 15; and William, 13 – are attending boarding school back home in the United Kingdom, but the family reunites every six weeks or so.
It is not uncommon for military children to stay behind and continue attending their same school so they have some sort of continuity in their education, Tingey said.
“From my perspective, my three children love it,” he said. “They thrive in that environment, so it is not that difficult for us.”
The kids also love El Paso, Tingey said. The family is making it a tradition to have dinner at iconic L & J Café either the first or second night after the children fly in for a visit during their breaks in their schooling, Tingey said.
Tingey has also been quite impressed with Fort Bliss and all it offers in terms of training and professional development.
The 1st Armored Division’s professionalism and motivation, its fighting power and the installation’s ability to serve as a platform for training and mobilization all stand out, he said.
He is part of an exchange program between the United Kingdom and the United States.
“It is an important part of building that trust, building that military relationship with what is our primary strategic partner,” Tingey said.
Tingey said he would like to “consolidate this job” and make it a permanent feature that the division always has a general from the United Kingdom serving as a deputy commander.
“I am only the second deputy commanding general in the 1st Armored Division from the United Kingdom,” Tingey said. “I would like to make sure I am succeeded and that this continues for many years to go.”
The division headquarters recently went through its Warfighter exercise at Fort Bliss. This is the headquarters’ version of a National Training Center rotation.
Tingey said it is crucial for the division and all its brigades to transition from a counter-insurgency fight – which has been going on in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past 17 years – to being able to relearn their army-on-army or combined arms skills.
“It is easy to sometimes to concentrate on the threat posed by extreme terrorism and it is a big threat, and I’m not underplaying it in anyway,” Tingey said. “But there are significant other threats we need to be prepared for and deter.”
Tingey’s final goal for his two-year tenure at Fort Bliss is to set the “conditions for future success for the division.”
“As the M — the maneuver deputy commanding general — my primary responsibility to the commanding general is for the long-term planning within the division,” Tingey said. “It is making sure myself and my team are looking 18 months into the future.”
Tingey is a combat engineer by trade and has served in a wide range of units over his career. He also has a background as a trainer.
He has been an instructor for the British version of NTC – called the British Army Training Unit Suffield which is near Calgary, Canada.
There, he helped to teach brigades and battle groups to do armored maneuver.
He also served as an instructor at the British Defence Academy, teaching majors and lieutenant colonels how to conduct division-level operations.
Most recently, Tingey attended the Royal College of Defence Studies for a year. That program is affiliated with King’s College London.
“It is an honor to be here,” Tingey said. “This is such a well-known division – America’s tank division.”
Author: David Burge/Special to the El Paso Herald-Post
David Burge is a news producer at ABC-7 in El Paso. He has more than three decades of experience working at newspapers in California, New Mexico and Texas. Covering the military is a particular passion.
Watch for more “Meet the Leaders” profiles in upcoming issues of the El Paso Herald-Post.
Guest Columnist November 19, 2018NewsComments Off on 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.
It took all of about five minutes for Command Sgt. Maj. Rob Cobb and his family to make up their minds that they were going to love their new home of Fort Bliss and El Paso.
“As we were coming in to El Paso, my daughter (Erin) was sitting in the backseat and she is like, ‘I already like this place.’” Cobb said.
“We were coming through where the Fountains mall is at,” Cobb said.
“You could see all the restaurants and shopping areas and all the things. Honestly, five minutes into El Paso, she said, ‘I already like this place.’”
Cobb took over as the senior enlisted leader for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss in August.
He and his family have already been exploring the Borderland area – including hiking in the Franklin Mountains, climbing to the top of Mount Cristo Rey and checking out all the restaurants and shopping in El Paso, he said.
“I can truly say my family has thoroughly enjoyed El Paso,” he said.
Cobb, a 44-year-old from Camden, S.C., has spent most of his career as an airborne noncommissioned officer. He most recently served as the senior enlisted leader for the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Even though he has only been here about 90 days, Cobb is also seriously impressed with the facilities at Fort Bliss – like the Freedom Crossing shopping center, the Aquatics Training Center and the training area.
These facilities lead the Army and should serve as a model for other installations, he said.
“By far – and if it were not true, I would not say it – this is the best installation I have ever been on,” Cobb said.
The training area is nearly 1 million acres and lends itself to “some phenomenal” opportunities to train and get soldiers and units ready for whatever mission lies ahead, Cobb said.
He has also been impressed by the close relationship between Fort Bliss and the El Paso community – calling it one of the best he has ever seen.
“I thought the one at Fort Bragg was pretty strong,” Cobb said. “But it’s nothing like here.”
Cobb said he his main goal is pretty simple – to help instill a culture of being ready now.
“We have been at war for 17 years,” he said. “We have gotten into the habit of looking at the calendar and saying we are deploying in X month and this is the train-up path we need to go on to get there and we need to be ready then.”
“We can no longer have that mindset,” Cobb said. “We have to be ready all the time. We live in an uncertain world.” That means being ready to deploy to deal with the nation’s enemies or helping out with hurricane relief – like the Combat Aviation Brigade did last year in Puerto Rico, he said.
“Our soldiers at Fort Bliss have to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice,” Cobb said. “We are (ready). We just want to place a renewed emphasis on that and making sure everyone from the lowest private to myself and the commanding general put that laser focus on that.”
* By David Burge/Special for the Herald-Post
David 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.
Guest Columnist November 3, 2018NewsComments Off on Meet the Leaders: Brig. Gen. Gallivan ‘Thrilled, Fortunate to be Back at Bliss’
One of the new deputy commanding generals at Fort Bliss has serious ties to the post and is thrilled to be back at what he calls his “Army home.”
Brig. Gen. Jay Gallivan is the new deputy commander general for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss for operations. Gallivan, age 48, arrived this summer and took over as one of three deputy commanders for the division and installation.
He said he is grateful and excited to be back “serving in this wonderful community and this great installation of teammates.”
“I never thought I’d be so fortunate to be back,” said Gallivan, who was born in the Boston area, but grew up all over as the son of a soldier.
“I am grateful to be back in the 1st Armored Division, to be an Iron soldier, to be part of Fort Bliss, with all the spectacular resident units that are here and be back in El Paso,” he said.
He served at Fort Bliss from 2008-10 as a battalion commander with 1st Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment with what was then 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division. That brigade has since reflagged to 3rd Brigade.
That stint as a battalion commander included a deployment to Iraq.
Gallivan returned to Fort Bliss in 2013 for a second tour. Almost immediately after arriving back, he deployed to the Middle East and served as the chief of staff for the 1st Armored Division’s forward deployed element in Jordan. He did that for close to a year and then served as a brigade commander with Fort Bliss’ First Army contingent.
He commanded the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade and then the 5th Armored Brigade after the two units merged and took the latter’s name. He headed those training brigades – whose primary responsibility is training National Guard and Reserve units before they deploy – from 2014-2016.
Gallivan has been all over the United States and world – first as a child growing up in the Army and then in his own Army career.
He and his family consider Fort Bliss a great place to live and serve.
The people in El Paso and their sense of community really make it stand out, Gallivan said.
“Community is such a beautiful word,” he said.
He is also excited to be back in one of the Army’s most storied divisions and to be part of “this team of teams” at Fort Bliss.
After leaving Fort Bliss, he served as the chief of staff for the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, and then as a staff officer in Washington, D.C.
As deputy commander for operations, he views his role as serving as a “coach, teacher and mentor” for battalion and brigade commanders at Fort Bliss.
“The bottom line: It is about building readiness – both in the installation and more broadly for the Army,” Gallivan said.
Gallivan’s resume is deep in training experience.
Besides commanding a brigade in the First Army, Gallivan also served as a senior battalion and brigade trainer at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
Gallivan said his main goal is to “enable the success of all the command teams across this installation – our division commander, brigade, battalion and company commanders.”
Since arriving at Fort Bliss, Gallivan was promoted to his current rank. He called the promotion humbling. But mostly he is grateful to continue serving with soldiers at the installation he now likes to call home.
Watch for more “Meet the Leaders” profiles in upcoming issues of the El Paso Herald-Post.
By David Burge/Special to the El Paso Herald-Post
Burge is a news producer at ABC-7 in El Paso. He has worked at newspapers in California, New Mexico and Texas. Covering the military is a particular passion.