Let me start by apologizing for missing our last Shimbun submission. We were busy dominating Geronimo at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana!
At JRTC, we continued to set the bar higher for the Army from a mission command and warfighting standpoint. Due to the efforts of the Rakkasan Soldiers, Commanders, and Staffs, we completed the Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (RSO&I) portion of the rotation over 24 hours faster than planned, providing valuable time for troop leading procedures prior to operations.
Once we deployed to Atropia, the Rakkasans took the fight to Geronimo across all warfighting functions, and did not stop fighting until the Observer Controller/Trainers (OC/Ts) initiated a tactical pause. Without going into specifics, we killed/destroyed numerous OPFOR vehicles, personnel, and equipment, enabling bold and mission accomplishment in a complex, decisive action, multi-domain training environment.
One of my favorite moments was at the After Action Review, when I got the opportunity to hear about the individual accomplishments of some of our Soldiers, particularly the Hero of the Battle. This Rakkasan singlehandedly destroyed three armored fighting vehicles with his anti-armor weapon system, resulting in a significant degradation of enemy advance. As you may know, tanks and BMPs present some very dangerous challenges for light infantry units, even the world’s premier Air Assault Division. Typically, the OCs have to tell the
OPFOR to turn down the heat on the units, so they can get some training value out of their rotations. In our case, the OCs met to discuss how to slow us down…a compliment to the aggressiveness and bias for action of our Rakkasan Soldiers.
Not only did the Rakkasans excel in lethality and warfighting, but our leaders set the bar high in terms of finding efficient and innovative solutions to the most vexing CTC problems. Our logisticians determined that it was more cost effective for the Army to move our equipment from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to Fort Polk, Louisiana by barge. Moving equipment by barge saved the brigade over one million dollars each way. That money is being reinvested into the post infrastructure and will increase the Division’s deployment readiness.