Division 'ramps up' for Warfighter

by Spc. Greg Fuhs
29th Infantry Division (Light) Public Affairs

FORT DIX, NJ, June 19, 1999 -- Soldiers from the 29th Infantry Division (Light) completed training at Fort Dix this week in preparation for a major battlefield simulation exercise.

This was the first increment of a two-part annual training cycle for members of the division, which is headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., and includes units from five states.

"This annual training mission is part of a multi-step buildup process to get the division to an exercise called Warfighter," said Maj. Gen. Carroll D. Childers, the division commander. Warfighter, which will take place at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in July, is a computer-based combat simulation which allows division and brigade-level staff to practice tactics and battlefield coordination using realistic wartime scenarios.

Through the simulation, commanders in the field are given battlefield objectives and must decide on courses of action. As they direct their troops, represented by graphical control measures on military maps, these movements and actions are called in to an off-site control center which houses the Corps Battlefield Simulation (CBS) system. As operators and technicians in the CBS center update the commanders' actions through computer terminals, the CBS calculates the results of their moves, which are then called back to the commanders.

"It's about as real as you can get without actually being on a battlefield," said Childers.
While the training was geared towards instructing officers and senior staff in battlefield tactics, many enlisted personnel were involved in the 29th's mission as well, working on everything from establishing communications links to setting up field medical facilities.

Sgt. William Walsh, an intelligence analyst with 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry, Roanoke, Va., was one of numerous enlisted soldiers involved in the operation of the CBS. According to Walsh, the soldiers learned from classes and hands-on training provided by civilian contractors and personnel from the Fort Dix-based 78th Battle Projection Group. The work helped to "increase our ability to work in a tactical operations center and reinforces prior training," Walsh said.

Childers said the 29th selected Fort Dix as their preparation site for several reasons. First of all, many of the required support elements for rehearsing Warfighter scenarios, such as the CBS system, already were in place here. Secondly, it served as a good central meeting point for the division, which has units in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. The post also is well-equipped with facilities and services which enhance the soldier's quality of life.

Click HERE to view photos from the exercise.

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This page was last updated June 21, 1999.