INDIANAPOLIS — Vini, vidi, veci.The 38th Infantry Division came, saw and conquered.
The Soldiers of the 38th used their real-world skills in virtual battlefield scenarios to defeat an enemy during a nine-day warfighter exercise at Camp Atterbury in October.
“We achieved our goals and won the war,” said Maj. Gen. Gordon L. Ellis, the division commanding general, during the after-action review.
Ellis incorporated training objectives and training outcomes for his soldiers during the warfighter exercise.
The objectives and outcomes included conducting reconnaissance operations at the division-level; utilizing a distributed command post and maintaining communications throughout the exercise; refining staff products and procedures to provide subordinate brigades with timely information; coordinating multiservice munitions delivery; logistic support and consolidation throughout the division’s operation.
“The proficiencies that we gained here, we cannot lose,” Ellis said. “We seized some objectives, but we still have a way to go.”
Additionally the division soldiers had to accomplish all these objectives while in an austere setting to meet the intent of U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley to train as an expeditionary force. A notional chemical environment required the division Soldiers to move their command posts during the exercise and settle into bivouac sites.
“Gen. Milley, has told us to be ready to ‘fight tonight,’” said Command Sgt. Maj. Dale A. Shetler, the division’s senior enlisted adviser. “Maj. Gen. Ellis has therefore put an emphasis on being an expeditionary division. This increased agility will allow us to move quickly and be self-sufficient in times of crises.”
Shetler explained some of the aspects the division Soldiers performed to be an expeditionary force.
“To that end, we performed our warfighter with Soldiers sleeping in tents, our maintenance crews working on site, and our cooks using our mobile kitchens, and smaller and more mobile command posts,” Shetler said. “This is a change in philosophy from previous warfighter exercises, but it is a needed change. After this exercise, I feel more confident than ever that our Soldiers are ready to answer the call if needed.”
The battlefield scenarios of this warfighter exercise tested the division staff in six functional tasks: command and control, movement and maneuver, intelligence, targeting processes, sustainment and protection.
Aside from 38th Inf. Div. sSoldiers communicating and coordinating amongst themselves in their staff roles, they also had to communicate and coordinate with a higher headquarters and other divisions across the globe.
“You guys did a great job,” said Milley via video teleconference toward the end of the warfighter review. “The planning, the synchronization and the integration; you guys are at the top of your game. You’ve gone from good to great, but you’ve got to sustain that.”
Now the division Soldiers stand ready for their next command-post exercise slated for March.
The 38th Inf. Div., headquartered in Indianapolis and known as the Cyclone Division, remains postured to strengthen defense relationships and build partner capacity.
Subordinate units in the 38th provide capabilities in infantry, aviation, logistics, force protection and information management. Cyclone Division Soldiers can facilitate theater security cooperation activities in key leader engagements, joint exercises, conferences, humanitarian assistance and disaster response planning.