CSMR PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN 1/18th CAV & Honorable Artillery Company 2017 Annual Training
By: 1LT Joseph Villegas
(Camp Roberts, CA) – In the culminating event of the 2017 Annual Training (AT), the smoke cleared around FOB Echo as elements of the 1/18th CAV and Honorable Artillery Company (HAC) of the British Army conducted an air and ground assault against a determined and motivated opposing force (OPFOR). The CSMR’s mission, along with attached California Army National Guard (CA ARNG) CBRNE, MP, Medical, and HHT units and personnel, was to provide a realistic and capable OPFOR.
This mission was led by 79th CSMR SPT BDE Charlie Company Commander, CPT Daniel Derkum, with the support of Soldiers from the 79th SPT BDE, 143rd SPT BN, 49th SPT BDE, 224th SPT BDE, 100th SPT CMD, 163rd SPT GRP, 26th CAV SPT REG, CMH, and the AVN SPT BDE.
Members of the 79th CSMR SPT BDE along with attachments, enthusiastically provided added training value to an international AT conducted by the 1/18th CAV and the HAC. After 6 months of preparation, 3 Field Training Exercises (FTX’s), 26 exceedingly difficult reconnaissance and attack missions, the CSMR delivered the type of OPFOR that was requested by the 1/18th CAV.
In one of the biggest CA ARNG Annual Training Exercises for 2017 with almost 700 personnel alongside air and UAV assets, elements of the CSMR role-played as the OPFOR Red Force (REDFOR), providing realistic and challenging training for the troops of the 1/18th CAV and HAC. Involving the coordination of hundreds of troops from the CA ARNG, British Army, and the CSMR, the two-week exercise tested the reconnaissance capabilities and combat readiness of the 1/18th CAV and the HAC.
The CSMR worked closely with the 1/18th CAV S-2 (CPT Joshua Carlson) in coordinating the OPFOR activities. When briefing the CSMR on his philosophy of OPFOR, CPT Carlson stated, “OPFOR is 50 percent tactics and 50 percent theater.”
The 79th CSMR SPT BDE with attachments provided just that theater and realism for the 1/18th CAV and HAC. The CSMR introduced a healthy amount of realism and immediacy to the scenarios. The OPFOR missions included reconnaissance and combat patrols, target identification and engagement, and unconventional harassment using Battle Field Effects (BFX). These engagements helped develop and sharpen skills and techniques to ensure victory in future missions and deployments.
The overall success of this mission validates the CSMR commitment, capability and dedication in meeting the Unit embedment support requirements of the CA ARNG.
This AT provided valuable experience for Soldiers of the 79th CSMR SPT BDE and attachments, as they became integrated with other units from within the CA ARNG, who together, comprised the OPFOR for this event. CSMR tasks included mission planning, briefing, troop leading procedures (TLP), and mission execution. In addition to all enjoying the FTX, it provided a fantastic opportunity to develop cohesiveness, adaptability, capabilities, and esprit de corps.