FORT CARSON, CO – One of the five Special Operations Forces (SOF) Truths is most special operations require non-SOF assistance, and in these uncertain and dangerous times that assistance includes joining the fight when necessary.
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) demonstrated that truth by training members of their Group Support Battalion (GSB) in complex joint fires and maneuver exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Aug. 27 to Sept. 09.
The exercise replicated combat by integrating special operations forces ground maneuvers, Army surface fire assets, and joint air assets.
Partnering with Special Forces Joint Tactical Attack Controllers (JTAC) as well as the Nellis Air Force Base Weapons School and Soldiers from 4th Infantry Division out of Colorado, soldiers from GSB practiced complex day and night missions. The service members enhanced their skills in live fire stress shoots, convoy live fires, evaluating casualties, airborne operations, radio communication, calling for medical evacuations from Chinook helicopters and directing fire from A-10 Warthog fighter jets onto targets.
The exercise was designed to enhance the interoperability of multiple air assets supporting Special Operations ground force maneuver.
It was, for most GSB soldiers, an unprecedented chance to train in combat tasks well-outside of their normal duties.
“We entered all training with focus and an open mind, and that helped me learn,” said Spc. Bernard Pratt, a motor transport operator assigned to the Sustainment and Distribution company, GSB. “Everyone did a great job of executing.”
The joint training afforded the young team leaders lots of practice at adjusting their plans to meet conditions.
“We had to get good at shifting jobs every day,” said Sgt. Paul Coello, a noncommissioned officer assigned to GSB Maintenance Company.
Coello said being able to adapt as the lanes switched around, to shift fire when the JTACs needed them to, and reacting accordingly to unforeseen circumstances, on the ground or in the air, was critical to their success.
“It was our first time doing something like this since I’ve been at Group,” said 2nd Lt. Nicholas Brock, the officer in charge of GSB’s training, “It was good to have our [NCO’s] actually coordinate with the JTACs and the pilots out there and learn to communicate effectively through all different levels, and to be able to get trigger time at the range every day for three weeks added to the value.”
This sentiment was echoed by Lt. Col. Jonathan Beck, the GSB commander.
“The value that this training has for these Soldiers can’t be overstated,” said Beck.
Beck explained that, because this training included Air Force fighter jets, Special Operators, and Chinook helicopters, Soldiers were able to see, first-hand and in real-time, what effects they were having on the battlefield.
Beck said the training was not something every soldier in the Army gets.
“Battle is chaotic,” Beck said. “You don’t want your first time managing the chaos to be during your first actual fire-fight.”