The Army Strong theme is not a phrase — it is a way of life. The U.S. Army is strong because it uses procedures of mutually supporting actions to accomplish the mission. The concept of Soldiers and units supporting each other while conducting military operations is paramount to any unit’s success. Each element of the team has a specific function and role to help the commander accomplish his/her mission. During a deliberate attack for example, the assaulting force is supported by the support-by-fire (SBF) element. The SBF element’s focus is to gain fire superiority and cover the maneuver of the assaulting force as it gains a foothold onto an objective.
In the spring of 2012, as the 1st Brigade Combat Team (Bastogne), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) prepared to conduct collective training prior to a deployment to Afghanistan, it was determined that the brigade staff needed to enhance the planning process to help gain a deeper understanding of the environment in a way that supported the brigade commander’s personality and way of thinking. The brigade commander was concerned that traditional methods and processes did not account for the complexity of the Afghan environment. How would the staff decide when and where to apply resources and effort?
I hadn’t heard the sound of incoming small arms fire zipping overhead in a few years and definitely didn’t expect it on the second week of a deployment to Jordan. SFC Vincent Duenas and I were assigned by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade (ARTB) to work with the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) by observing and advising the Jordanian Special Operations Command’s (JORSOCOM) Ranger School. We weren’t in an insurgent ambush, but on the opposite side of a hill that served as the crew-served weapons range for a unit training to support the United Nations in Africa.
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