Sustainers stand their ground at U’ila Pau

| June 23, 2017 | 0 Comments
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — Soldiers who make up the 25th Sustainment Brigade's quick reaction force fight off an attack on their base 30 May, during training exercise U'ila Pau, here. The base defense portion of U'ila Pau was designed to test Soldiers warrior tasks and battle drill while securing themselves in an austere environment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — Soldiers who make up the 25th Sustainment Brigade’s quick reaction force fight off an attack on their base 30 May, during training exercise U’ila Pau, here. The base defense portion of U’ila Pau was designed to test Soldiers warrior tasks and battle drill while securing themselves in an austere environment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

Story and photos by
Sgt. Ian Ives
25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — In a remote part of the island of Hawai’i that is reminiscent of Afghanistan, the sounds of M2 .50 caliber machine gun fire and Soldiers yelling commands could be heard.

The “Black Wolves” militant group was pressing against a fortified base manned by Soldiers from the 25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, with no avail.

From amidst the gunfire, the leader of the opposing militant forces called a cease fire and rounded up his group of no more than 10 Soldiers, to meet with the commander from the Special Troops Battalion, 25th Sust. Bde.

As real as it may have seemed, the battle that had occurred was all part of the Sust. Bde.’s culminating exercise U’ila Pau.

Soldiers from the 25th Sust. Bde. began this 26-day training exercise on May 15 and ended it on June 9, here. The purpose of this large-scale exercise was to increase Sustainers’ ability to fortify and defend themselves in austere environments with no help from combat arms Soldiers.

“We wanted them to be proficient at conducting convoys, self-securing their convoys and securing bases on their own,” said Capt. James Degan the assistant operations officer for the 25th Sust. Bde.

The training began with a week of ranges designed to have Soldiers focus on honing their skills on their assigned weapons and crew served weapons. This time allowed them to qualify and become familiar with their weapons at both day and night.

“The range week was really a multi-faceted event,” said Degan. “Being in sustainment, we are very focused on supporting other units in the 25th Inf. Div., and on the island of Oahu, so that week helped prepare Soldiers for the base defense and perimeter live-fire exercises by letting us have time to focus on their individual weapon systems rather than sustainment.”

Following the range week, Soldiers geared up and moved out to forward operating bases and were tasked with defending them from scenario-based opposing forces. These opposing forces were composed of designated Soldiers from within the brigade whose mission was to test the defensive skills of the brigade.

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — A Soldier with the 25th Sustainment Brigade fire his M2 .50 caliber machine gun at a perimeter defense range during training exercise UÕila Pau, here. The perimeter defense portion of U'ila Pau was designed to test Soldiers ability to shoot, move and communicate while securing their convoy's perimeter in an austere environment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — A Soldier with the 25th Sustainment Brigade fire his M2 .50 caliber machine gun at a perimeter defense range during training exercise UÕila Pau, here. The perimeter defense portion of U’ila Pau was designed to test Soldiers ability to shoot, move and communicate while securing their convoy’s perimeter in an austere environment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

“We were trying to see what kind of reaction they would have to our opposing force injections during the base defense portion of the training,” said Sgt. 1st Class John Berry, the noncommissioned officer of the opposing force. “We wanted to try and cause confusion by doing things that they wouldn’t expect us to do.”

From encountering displaced civilians on the battlefield to direct force on force combat, Sustainers were hit with a seemingly never ending barrage of opposing force scenarios. One event even required the unit to react to a mass casualty event after a notional vehicle borne explosive device detonated outside of the base. Every bit of training the brigade had received was put to the test during this exercise.

“As Sustainers, this training is important because these are the kind of threats they will encounter when they deploy,” said Berry.

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — A noncommissioned officer with the 25th Sustainment Brigade provides combat lifesaving aid to a Soldier 30 May, who was notionally wounded after an attack on the base during training exercise U'ila Pau, here. The base defense portion of U'ila Pau was designed to test Soldiers warrior tasks and battle drill while securing themselves in an austere environment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — A noncommissioned officer with the 25th Sustainment Brigade provides combat lifesaving aid to a Soldier 30 May, who was notionally wounded after an attack on the base during training exercise U’ila Pau, here. The base defense portion of U’ila Pau was designed to test Soldiers warrior tasks and battle drill while securing themselves in an austere environment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

After more than a week of attacks from the opposing force, Sustainers moved on to the last phase of the exercise, perimeter live fire. During this exercise, a platoon of Soldiers had to negotiate a lane in their assigned gun trucks and secure a perimeter by destroying notional targets. Effective communication and superior firing skills were essential to accomplishing this task during.

“Usually a sustainment unit would request a military police platoon or an armor platoon to assist with securing them, but those assets are not always available, so it is important that we know how to secure ourselves,” said Degan.

Though the month-long exercise was long and grueling, the Soldiers of the 25th Sust. Bde. proved their combat effectiveness in an unforgiving environment. Now armed with lethal knowledge and the experience of defending themselves, the 25th Sust. Bde. is prepared to accomplish any mission.

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Category: Exercises, News, Training, U.S. Army Garrison-Pohakuloa (USAG-Pohakuloa)

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