‘Bronco’ brigade learns lessons during Exercise Yama Sakura

| December 15, 2015 | 0 Comments
The Fires and Effects Coordination Cell (FECC) for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conducts planning during the Yama Sakura exercise at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 9, 2015. The 3rd BCT participated in the bilateral Yama Sakura exercise between the United States and Japan, Dec. 5-10. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

The Fires and Effects Coordination Cell (FECC) for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conducts planning during the Yama Sakura exercise at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 9, 2015. The 3rd BCT participated in the bilateral Yama Sakura exercise between the United States and Japan, Dec. 5-10. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conducted a war gaming exercise during Yama Sakura at Area X, here, Dec. 5-10.

The exercise simulated the brigade’s capabilities to rapidly engage and defeat notional opposing force of Askari in Japan by setting up its tactical operations center in the field.

Capt. Josue Guerra, operations officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, points at notional brigade forces during a combined arms rehearsal (CAR) at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 9, 2015. The 3rd BCT participated in Yama Sakura exercise to test it capabilities Dec. 5-10. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Capt. Josue Guerra, operations officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, points at notional brigade forces during a combined arms rehearsal (CAR) at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 9, 2015. The 3rd BCT participated in Yama Sakura exercise to test it capabilities Dec. 5-10. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

“Yama Sakura is one of the Army’s premier command post exercises (CPX),” said Joseph Wells, brigade operations officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd BCT, 25th ID. “Participating units at all levels planned operations against a near peer threat and then executed that plan in a virtual and constructive environment.”

The six-day training exercise for the brigade brought a unique training opportunity for the staff sections.

“At the brigade level, Yama Sakura allowed the staff to teach and then validate our standard operating procedures (SOPs) from TOC operations to planning using the military decision making process (MDMP),” Wells said.

Pfc. Dom Hernandez, nodal network systems operator-maintainer, Company C, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, monitors communications for the brigade during Yama Sakura, at Area X, here, on Dec. 7, 2015. Hernandez’s duty was to help ensure constant communications for the brigade during the exercise. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Pfc. Dom Hernandez, nodal network systems operator-maintainer, Company C, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, monitors communications for the brigade during Yama Sakura, at Area X, here, on Dec. 7, 2015. Hernandez’s duty was to help ensure constant communications for the brigade during the exercise. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Those assigned and attached to brigade’s HHC worked diligently with planning an offensive to bring about the enemy to heel during the war gaming.

A member of the brigade’s Fires and Effects Coordination Cell (FECC), Capt. Will Balogh, assistant fire support officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery, 3rd BCT, 25th ID, described the notional arms brought against the Askari forces.

“Currently, we are in the field facilitating the brigade’s deep and shaping fight for YS 69, a unique bilateral training opportunity offered by I Corps that stresses multinational interoperability, staff process and the ability to plan, execute, share, and win in a complex environment,” Balogh said. “Beyond providing support to this bilateral operation, we are exercising our mission command systems and validating our planning SOP.”

Maj. Charles Bailey, brigade intelligence officer (S-2), Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, gives a status report during the brigade battle update brief for the Yama Sakura exercise at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 8, 2015. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Maj. Charles Bailey, brigade intelligence officer (S-2), Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, gives a status report during the brigade battle update brief for the Yama Sakura exercise at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 8, 2015. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

The battalions worked together as a team to keep the fight happening for the brigade during the exercise. Each battalion had representatives at the TOC to ensure unit cohesion.

First Lt. Garrett Wattier, transportation officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 325th Brigade Support Battalion, worked as a support operations officer (SPO) for his battalion during the exercise.

“The job of the SPO is to take all the coordination that the brigade S-4 (logistics) has made for sustainment and ensure that they are enacted at the BSB level,” Wattier said. “So, essentially brigade is the long term planner.”

He stated that his experience during the exercise allowed him to see a new perspective than before on a major operation.

Master Sgt. Kenneth Hook, brigade supply NCOIC (S-4), Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, writes down individual supply and logistic information on a white board during the exercise Yama Sakura at Area X, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 2015. Yama Sakura is a bilateral exercise between the United States and Japan. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Master Sgt. Kenneth Hook, brigade supply NCOIC (S-4), Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, writes down individual supply and logistic information on a white board during the exercise Yama Sakura at Area X, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 2015. Yama Sakura is a bilateral exercise between the United States and Japan. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

“Usually when I’m down at the BSB, I’m more focused on brigade level operations,” he said. “Up here there is more studying the bigger strategic picture and what’s going in our division area of operations.”

While planning was conducted inside the TOC, however, it was the Soldiers that supported the exercise that were the ones that helped make it a success.

Pfc. Dom Hernandez, nodal network systems operator-maintainer, Company C, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, worked long hours inside his post during the week-long mission.

Hernandez stated that his company was helping to ensure network communications remained constant to provide communications for the brigade for the bilateral exercise.

The Signal Soldiers had their own learning lessons out in the field in Area X.

“I learned anything that can go wrong will go wrong, but we were prepared for the setbacks and able to overcome them earlier on in the training,” he said.

The “Bronco” Soldiers overcame all difficulties and made it through long hours to make this year’s Yama Sakura exercise a success.

The tactical operations center for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 8, 2015. The 3rd BCT participated in the bilateral Yama Sakura exercise between the United States and Japan, Dec. 5-10. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

The tactical operations center for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, at Area X on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Dec. 8, 2015. The 3rd BCT participated in the bilateral Yama Sakura exercise between the United States and Japan, Dec. 5-10. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

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Category: Deployed Forces, Exercises, News, Training

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