29th ID Soldiers gain valuable experience at Warfighter exercise

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – Maryland and Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division prepared for future missions at a “Warfighter” exercise Sept. 28 – Oct. 12, 2018, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

The exercise was a two-week, computer-simulated war that tested command and control processes against a notional enemy force in a notional environment that also incorporated local citizens and local criminal elements. Soldiers from the 29th Infantry Division acted as a support division to the Indianapolis, Indiana-based 38th Infantry Division. The 38th ID was the graded training audience for this iteration and the 29th will be the training audience in October 2019.

“Going into this Warfighter, we had specific training objectives that we knew would stress and challenge the staff,” said Col. Preston Scott, 29th ID chief of staff. “The flexibility of these Soldiers as they refined tactics, techniques and procedures and honed their skills during this complex training event makes me proud to be a member of this division.”

Even in the support role every asset of the 29th was involved including infantry, cavalry, field artillery, engineers, support battalions and aviation assets to increase the realism and impact of the simulation.

“This was a perfect opportunity to conduct a reconnaissance,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Samulski the 29th ID planning officer. “We learned a lot about the scenario we would fight and collected some vital insights from our sister divisions that were being formally evaluated. This exercise allowed this new staff team to better understand the required information and the preferred techniques needed to enable to the division commander to visualize, describe and direct in near-peer fight.”

The entire exercise was overseen by observer coach/trainers from the Mission Command Training Support Program. Each member of this team was certified through a rigorous training program and are subject matter experts on doctrine and their specific war fighting function. They played a critical role by mentoring and providing feedback to all staff members from the initial planning phase to the after-action review.

“Feedback is an essential element to enable improvement,” said Samulski. “Our goal is to take this value information back with us and continue to improve as a division staff in preparation for our Warfighter exercise next fall.”