Over the past week and a half, troopers from the 1st Cavalry Division participated in the largest Warfighter exercise on record in order to ensure the integration and readiness of the division staff, as well as test the command post systems and processes for future operations.
“Warfighter 21-01 was the largest Warfighter on record,” Maj. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commander, 1st Cav. Div., said. “It was a fantastic opportunity for the 1st Cav. Div. to train on large scale group combat operations. The 1st Cav. Div., task organized under the XVIII Airborne Corps with the 82nd Airborne Division, 3rd Infantry Division, and 34th Infantry Division, fought virtually against a world-class opposing force challenging us in all domains in real time. This exercise encourages the staff to achieve mission success by working as a team.”
A Warfighter is a simulation-driven, tactical command post exercise in which participants fight against a live, free-thinking adversary. The exercise is overseen by the Mission Command Training Program which supports the collective training of Army units to provide commanders and leaders the opportunity to train on real-time, virtual platforms.
“Warfighter is an opportunity for the division to test the functionality of the command and control systems that enable the full integration of the staff across war fighting functions,” explained Maj. Stephen Barnes, the 1st Cav. Div. chief of future operations. “This enables the commander to visualize the battlefield and build systems and structures that can facilitate, once activated, real world command and control systems.”
The MCTP uses a computer simulation to provide combat and battlefield scenarios, providing immediate feedback to the commander and staff, which allows for the commander’s own training assessment. Additionally, Observer, Coach, Trainers observe the staff and provide feedback on each unit’s staff functions and processes.
Although Soldiers are facing a real world threat with the spread of COVID-19, training must continue and the health and welfare of 1st Cav. Div. troopers remains a top priority. The division ensured multiple mitigation measures were implemented to train safely.
“Because we are working in close quarters, masks are required, even in the tents,” Sgt. 1st Class Marquita Williams, senior medic for the First Team, said. “In addition to that, we have hand sanitizer in each tent, and we sanitized the tents during the pause exercise.”
This Warfighter exercise is the culminating event following three previous command post exercises starting in August of this year. This exercise was originally scheduled in March as part of Defender 20 in Europe, but was postponed due to COVID-19.
“We were able to refine our processes, develop as warfighters, and further strengthen the team within the division and across the Army,” Broadwater said. “The expertise and dedication of the Mission Command Training Program was invaluable in helping us see ourselves and improve. This was truly a whole division effort and I am extremely proud of the entire First Team. We complete this exercise more lethal, more ready, and a more cohesive team.”