Written by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Lessmeister
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – As the unit responsible for sustaining the Army’s only air assault division, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division is constantly running support missions all over the world.
To make sure they are capable of meeting mission essential tasks no matter what the environment, Soldiers of the brigade headquarters and 101st Special Troops Battalion participated in a field training exercise March 28th-April 3rd, on training areas here.The FTX is training for the brigade’s ongoing Regionally Aligned Forces role in Africa, and any future missions, according to Col. Stanley Sliwinski, the 101st Abn. Div. Sust. Bde. commander.
“What we’re doing is laying foundations now, and then we’ll build upon them for Shared Accord 2017 in South Africa this summer,” he said.
Shared Accord is a joint exercise intended to enhance U.S. and African forces’ capabilities to perform peacekeeping operations in support of United Nations and African Union mandates, according to U.S. Africa Command’s website.
The brigade’s organic battalions, 101st STB and 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, executed separate battalion FTXs throughout March.
“My key objective is to validate our units’ expeditionary deployment readiness, their ability to conduct base defense operations, and conduct sustainment support from an expeditionary environment,” Sliwinski said.
For the most recent FTX, the brigade headquarters and 101st STB also conducted a live-fire exercise and mass casualty event.
Soldiers from within the brigade portrayed enemy forces and “attacked” the brigade’s site to help those validating the unit see how they conducted base defense.
Spc. Gregory C. Horishny, a human resources specialist with 101st Human Resources Company, 101st STB, participated in the FTX and said the simulated mortar attacks were very familiar.
“It just reminded me of when I was in Iraq and we would get mortared, but there would be no attack on the [Forward Operating Base],” he said.
As a combat veteran, Horishny said the FTX would give newer Soldiers a better idea of what to expect while deployed.
“Even quiet areas have pockets of resistance where you could get shot at every day,” he said.
Though 129th CSSB did not participate in the FTX involving the brigade headquarters and 101st STB, their field training exercise provided an opportunity to train with the brigade’s Associated Units Pilot Program partners from the 1176th Transportation Company, of the Tennessee National Guard, and the 2123rd Transportation Company, of the Kentucky National Guard.
Ultimately, the AUPP units were able to integrate as part of the base defense plan with 129th CSSB, said Sliwinski.
“Together, they were able to tie in their base defense plan …[and] they were able to learn from each other,” he said.
Following SA 2017, the brigade will conduct another FTX in the fall, participate in Eagle Talon II, a division-wide, constructive training exercise on Fort Campbell, and take part in a warfighter exercise in 2018.