116th BSTB Soldiers conduct combined arms exercise

Members of the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Batallion conduct their annual Combined Arms Exercise at Fort A.P. Hill, April 6, 2013. The units exercised capabilities of the batallion staff, military police, engineers, military intelligence, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear components. Aviation assets for the exercise in the form of air support UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were also provided by the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lalita Laksbergs, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Members of the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Batallion conduct their annual Combined Arms Exercise at Fort A.P. Hill, April 6, 2013. The units exercised capabilities of the batallion staff, military police, engineers, military intelligence, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear components. Aviation assets for the exercise in the form of air support UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were also provided by the 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lalita Laksbergs, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

FORT A. P. HILL, Va. — Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducted a combined arms exercise April 6, 2013, at Fort A. P. Hill. The scenario-driven exercise required the battalion’s military intelligence, engineer, military police and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear components to work closely together to accomplish their missions. Additionally, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew from the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation provided transportation and air support for the exercise.

“We planned the combined arms exercise to incorporate all the capabilities of the brigade special troops battalion,” said Maj. Damon Hogsten, operations officer for the battalion. “One of the key objectives was to focus on tactics and troop leading procedures at the squad level within a scenario-driven event.”

Early in the exercise, engineers of Company A and human intelligence analysts of Company B visited a simulated Afghan village. Engineers provided security and conducted a sewage, electrical, academic, and transportation assessment, while human intelligence Soldiers participated in a key-leader meeting with the local police chief and practiced elicitation and questioning techniques with the villagers. The information gathered from this event and from scenario-driven intelligence injects were used to develop a common operating picture for the battalion commander.

“Company B has Soldiers with six unique intelligence occupational specialties ranging from human intelligence to MI equipment maintenance,” said Capt. Robert Rogers, commander of Company B. “The combined arms exercise allows each of these sections to work closely together to synchronize information received from multiple sources and to provide actionable intelligence which supports brigade operations.”

The battalion’s second mission in the simulated village allowed the engineers to utilize their breaching capabilities on a target building and secure it. Military police of Headquarters Company provided security for military intelligence Soldiers called in to perform sensitive site exploitation, looking for documents or anything else that may provide valuable intelligence.

This was the first time we were able to work as a platoon in a realistic platoon mission,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Bristow, a platoon leader in Company A. “This is a building block for us to prepare for our annual training in June at Fort Pickett.”

While the exercise was composed of platoon-level missions, the exercise served as an opportunity for first sergeants and commanders to evaluate the performance of their squads, said Lt. Col. Chris Doss, commander of the 116th BSTB.

Military police engaged in convoy operations, reacting to a simulated improvised explosive device, and medical evacuation of casualties.

During the course of the exercise the CBRN team of Headquarters Company was able to utilize their equipment and special equipment to make sure locations were safe for other Soldiers.

The exercise culminated in a night mission at the Fort A. P. Hill Combined Arms Collective Training Facility. In the urban assault, engineers from Company A along with military police Soldiers from the Headquarters Company seized a building occupied by Soldiers from Company B acting as the opposing force.

Additional reporting by Staff Sgt. Lalita Laksbergs, 29th Infantry Division Public Affairs

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Photos: 116th BSTB Soldiers conduct urban assault to end CAX
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Photos: 116th BSTB Soldiers conduct combined arms exercise
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