Story and photos by
Sgt. 1st Class Chanelcherie K. DeMello
303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
9th Mission Support Command
HONOLULU — U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 9th Mission Support Command, put their skills to the test during a warfighter exercise (WFX) at Mission Training Complex (MTC), Schofield Barracks, April 3-12.
This was the first time the 303rd MEB participated in a WFX since its activation just four years ago. As the only MEB in the Pacific region, the WFX enhances training to provide for proficiency in the brigade’s full mission capabilities on protection and freedom of maneuver within a battle area of operation.
Hosted by the 25th Infantry Division (25th ID), the WFX provided invaluable practice for Soldiers of the 303rd MEB, as well as an opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with 25th ID Soldiers.
“The unit (303rd MEB) was able to participate in a high-level readiness exercise with an extremely well known military unit with a rich history of conflict and victory,” said Lt. Col. Gordon J. Knowles, senior plans officer and officer in charge, 303rd MEB, 9th MSC.
Though the exercise presented a fictional, computer-based theater of operation, the scenarios supported realistic, complex situations on a modern, simulated battlefield.
“This exercise allows the unit to see how other brigades, division and corps elements conduct mission command,” said Capt. Thomas Hacker, plans officer, 303rd MEB, 9th MSC. “It allows our unit to add to our standard operating procedures and tactic techniques procedures that will be invaluable in future exercises.”
Knowles said it was key as a leader to have confidence in each Soldier, as well as to work as a team to develop practical solutions that neutralized the simulated threats.
“This exercise helped me realize how great the Soldiers of the 303rd MEB are,” said Hacker. “I fill privileged to serve with professionals that are able to adapt and accomplish the mission despite the high tempo that a division and or corps warfighter demands.
Participation in additional command post exercises (CPXs) helps keep a unit and its Soldiers flexing the right muscles.
“Having Soldiers with previous experience in command post exercises, such as Balikatan, Cobra Gold, Yama Sakura, Garuda Shield, Ulchi-Freedom Guardian and Keris Strike, was critical to success at this warfighter exercise,” stated Knowles.
Two prior CPXs, referred to as “Imua Dawn,” played a significant role in preparing the 303rd MEB warfighters in executing operational management and decision making at a brigade staff level for this exercise.
“Having a team of highly motivated Army Reserve Soldiers with previous experience helped the 25th ID understand how the 303rd MEB would greatly assist a division level unit to maintain a high level of sustainment, reconstitution, and engagement with the enemy,” said Knowles.
The 9th MSC
It’s the most ethnically diverse, geographically dispersed command in the U.S. Army Reserve, crossing seven times zones, two states, two territories, a commonwealth and two foreign countries. Its Soldiers speak more than 29 languages.
It is the only Army Reserve Command assigned directly to an Army Service Component Command.
Major subordinate commands include the 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 658th Regional Support Group, 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, 3rd Mobilization Support Group, U.S. Army Pacific-Support Unit, 1984th US Army Hospital, USAR Theater Support Group – Pacific, 4960th Multifunctional Training Brigade, 100th Battalion/442nd Infantry, 411th Engineer Battalion, and the 302nd Transportation Terminal Battalion.