Reserve’s ‘Go For Broke’ joins ‘Broncos’ for ‘Super Bowl of Army Training’

| June 12, 2015 | 0 Comments
A 100th Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt. Soldier provides security during the battalion’s JRTC rotation with the 3rd BCT, 25th ID, at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

A 100th Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt. Soldier provides security during the battalion’s JRTC rotation with the 3rd BCT, 25th ID, at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Story and photos by Col. Arnold V. Strong
9th Mission Support Command

FORT POLK, Louisiana — Soldiers from Hawaii and American Samoa of the 9th Mission Support Command, Pacific Army Reserve, joined the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, for its monthlong rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center, here.

Serving as the brigade’s rear operations security battalion, the unit was seamlessly integrated into the fight from the start.

Led by Lt. Col. Ken Tafao, a native of American Samoa who spent most of his military service within the battalion, the unit trained on Oahu with the brigade for months in advance of this rotation and is an example of Total Army Force Integration.

Over the course of several drill weekends in preparation for the rotation, the battalion had five active component lieutenants serving as platoon leaders within its ranks, exposing the Army Reserve’s only infantry battalion.

“It doesn’t get any more demanding or more complex than this,” said Col. Scott Kelly, commander, 3rd BCT. “I think it’s been a great opportunity for the active duty officers to get out and have new leadership challenges because of the dynamics of a unit and an organization that they‘ve never worked with. I think it is also great for the Reserve guys to get some full time training for this period at what is really the Super Bowl of Army training,” he continued.

“The teamwork we have is great. The partnership couldn’t be any better, and we are going to continue to work together into the future,” Kelly concluded.

To be given one of the most challenging missions in the training scenario – defense of the “Marwandi” pumping station – was a calculated risk by the brigade commander. A division priority asset, the station was an enemy target from the start and a fight that initially caused the battalion to react to what Brig. Gen. Bryan Fenton, deputy commander, 25th ID-Operations, called “a thinking enemy.”

“This is truly what we talk about in terms of the multi-component Army,” said Fenton. “There is no ‘we’ve got to.’ We are making this work. Scott (Kelly) gave Ken (Tafao) some of the most difficult terrain, and I think that is a testament to our belief in the multi-compo force.”

After conducting an extensive on-site, or “green book“ after action review with company and battalion leadership, who were surprised to see a general officer in their area immediately after a particularly challenging night, Fenton later met with visiting, Brig. Gen. John Cardwell, commander, 9th MSC, and Col. Kelly to discuss his observations.

“We’re going to keep pushing them hard. Like (Kelly) said, this is the Super Bowl of the Army, and there are going to be hard days, but they are hooking and jabbing. It’s been a fantastic experience thus far, and it is only going to get better,” Fenton added.

“This was definitely a challenge,” said Tafao. “We have a lot to learn as noncommissioned officers and officers about how to lead in a field environment. Here, we are as far from home as some of these Soldiers have ever been, and it’s been years since the battalion deployed to Iraq. My job as their commander is to challenge them, everyday, to do the best they can and then … to do better than that.”

 

Historic Army Reserve Battalion

The 100th Infantry Battalion, headquartered at the U.S. Army Reserve Daniel K. Inouye Complex in Fort Shafter Flats, has company- and platoon-sized units in American Samoa, Guam and Saipan (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). Long associated with its extraordinary legacy from World War II, the unit also deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News, Training

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