Having participated in more than a decade of war, the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team went back to the basics conducting a field training exercise at Fort Bragg, Oct. 21 through 27.
Devil paratroopers conducted Operation Devil Surge to test their proficiency in joint forcible entry into austere environments and they also conducted follow-on missions of noncombatant evacuation operations and secured various objectives to include improvised explosive devices and high-profile targets.Countless hours of preparation and synchronization went into bringing together the multiple agencies such as the division and brigade headquarters elements, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, support units and multiple Air Force aircraft.
The 1st Combat Camera Squadron, 192nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion and a team from 9th Military Information Support Battlation lent their talents to the training exercise.
Joint forcible entry into the enemy’s battle space has been the priority for America’s Guard of Honor since 1942.
The first phase of the exercise, a night airborne insertion, demonstrated the paratroopers’ abilities to be postured to deploy worldwide within 18 hours of notification, execute an airborne assault and win the fight.
“As we come off of a long reset and support cycle, 1st BCT has the opportunity to test its systems (and) connections and resolve any issues,” said Maj. Anthony P. Barbina, brigade executive officer. “This will serve us well not only to our upcoming (Joint Readiness Training Center) rotation but as future deployments, as well,” he said.
“With a brand new team, this exercise has allowed us to understand our jobs and our responsibilities at the battalion and brigade level,” said Sgt. Maj. Danny G. Boivin, brigade operations sergeant major. “This will help us be successful in our future endeavors.”
Multiple facets of the 82nd Airborne Division, from a combat-loaded paratrooper exiting a high performance aircraft at night and air-dropping and firing the Army’s first digital howitzer, to operating the logistical tracking management system, Battle Command Support and Sustainment System and the engaging the signal capabilities of the Joint Network Node.
“This exercise has allowed us to update our battle processes and standard operating procedures,” said Capt. Terry Y. McCray, brigade information systems manager. “Within 24 hours, this 20-man (information systems) team was able to (convert from) analog to digital … giving our unit the ability to transmit and receive both voice and data to anywhere in the world.”
Sustainment operations also played a key role in the training exercise. Within 12 hours of the first paratrooper landing on Sicily Drop Zone, the logisticians were able to provide critical ammunition and fuel sustainment to the war fighters in the midst of battle. Within 36 hours, the unit’s sustainers were able to provide hot meals to the paratroopers in the field.
“Brigade logisticians have been working hard to reacquaint (themselves with) brigade support area operations,” said Master Sgt. Marc K. Jensen, brigade logistics noncommissioned officer in charge. “This has given them the opportunity to refine training practices and the ability to provide better and faster logistical support to the warfighter.”
Col. Trevor K. Bredenkamp, commander of 1st BCT, said he is proud of what his team of Paratroopers accomplished during the exercise.
“Trained and ready to accomplish its directed missions, our leaders and paratroopers have the confidence, competence and agility to accomplish any mission, anywhere, anytime,” said Bredenkamp. “We have been given the opportunity to carry on the legacy of those who have come before us — we will carry on these traditions honorably.”