By Capt. Christopher Biddie, Test Officer, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
FORT CARSON, Colorado — 4th Infantry Division Soldiers here finished the final phases of testing a new battlefield smoke-producing system to conceal units during combat.
The Screen Obscuration Module (SOM), which can be mounted to any vehicle or used dismounted, produces a billow of smoke capable of obscuring a platoon’s movement.
Currently the Army uses the M8 smoke pot or the M56 Coyote smoke generator to produce smoke.
The SOM covers the gap between these pieces of equipment, producing more smoke than the M8 while easily configurable to any mobile platform in the Army’s inventory, according to Maj. Jessie Holmes a test officer with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate.
During the test, Soldiers from A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, employed the SOM platform in multiple configurations.
“Each Soldier learned the features and capabilities of the SOM through hands-on training and practical exercises during New Equipment Training of the SOM over the course of a beautiful autumn week at Fort. Carson,” said Holmes.
The weather had other plans for testing and after blanketing the Coloradan plains with six inches of snow, the Soldiers from Apache Troop ran the SOM through its paces.
Using SOMs mounted on Strykers, the Soldiers conducted a series of mock engagements.
Smoke covered the training area as the two teams vied for advantage on the battlefield.
“We had to adjust some of our tactics, but the smoke was actually really useful once we learned how to use it to our advantage,” said Pfc. Tyler Johnston, an assistant gunner in Apache Troop.
Johnston was also excited to have an active party in shaping the future of combat while testing the SOM.
“Including the actual operators of the equipment before issuing [the equipment} should help to make a better kit,” he said.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
As the Army’s only independent operational tester, OTC tests Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using representative Soldiers to determine whether a system is effective, suitable, and survivable. Public law requires OTC to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer, the American Soldier.
The Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate at Fort Hood, Texas, conducts operational tests of combat engineer, chemical, transportation, military police, quartermaster, ordnance and medical service systems in order to provide our senior leaders with the necessary information to field the highest quality equipment for the warfighter.
By Mr. Wayne Lovely, Military Test Plans Analyst, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina — 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers are airdrop testing a small forklift system, making way for movement of large amounts of equipment and supplies quickly in austere battlefield conditions.
Airdrop operations of the Light Capability Rough Terrain Forklift 5K II (LCRTF 5K II) demonstrated its operational effectiveness and suitability for low-velocity airdrop within current cargo aerial delivery doctrine when deployed from U.S. Air Force C-17 and C-130 cargo aircraft.
“The LCRTF 5K II is being tested for a number of reasons to include operating over rough terrain once being airdropped from an aircraft,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ross Martin, LCRFT 5K II Test Noncommissioned Officer, with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate.
The primary mission of units equipped with the LCRTF 5K II is to load and unload palletized supplies, including ammunition, from International Standards Organization shipping containers and tactical vehicles, to move supplies across the beach and rough terrain, and transfer loads from aircraft landing zones.
Engineer battalions, artillery units, transportation support battalions, combat service support units, and various aviation units can employ the LCRTF 5K II.
“I enjoy working at ABNSOTD, learning new things about how new pieces of equipment like the LCRTF 5K II, which was airdropped during operational testing,” said Spc. Robert Cook, 249th Quartermaster Company, 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade.
“The experience that I am gaining here at ABNSOTD, I will be able to use when I return to my unit,” he added.
According to the chief of airborne testing, such tests are an opportunity for test units to train hard while having the opportunity to offer their feedback to improve Army equipment.
“Soldiers enjoy getting involved in operational testing,” said Lt. Col. Greg Oquendo, ABNSOTD’s Chief of Testing. They have the opportunity to operate and offer up their own suggestions on pieces of equipment that can impact development of systems that future Soldiers will use in support of combat missions.”
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood, Texas, and its mission is about ensuring that systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers provide feedback, by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems with which Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.
The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based ABNSOTD plans, executes, and reports on operational tests and field experiments of Airborne and Special Operations Forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems in order to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems or equipment to the Warfighter.
FORT HOOD, Texas — The 1st Cavalry Division is scheduled to conduct a quarterly Distinguished Service Recognition ceremony Thursday, Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. in Howze Theater.
Retiring Soldiers, outstanding troopers, and volunteers from across the division will be recognized for their contributions to the First Team and the Army during the ceremony.
Additionally, the family of Staff Sgt. Jesse Paul Johnson, a 1-8 Cavalry Soldier during WWII, will be presented a Purple Heart Medal on his behalf. Johnson was mortally wounded on March 16, 1944 and passed away on March 17, 1944 after he exposed himself to enemy fire during a battle on Manus Island, part of Papua New Guinea. The medal had never been formally presented to the Johnson family.
For more information about Staff Sgt. Johnson, or to attend the ceremony, please contact Staff Sgt. Carolyn Hart at email@example.com no later than Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m.
All interested media will be escorted from the media parking area at the T.J. Mills Blvd. Welcome Center to Howze Theater and should arrive by 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 14.
FORT HOOD, Texas — The next quarterly Fort Hood Family Housing Town Hall event will be held at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 7 at Howze Auditorium. Fort Hood leaders will brief the status of issues within their designated unit-sponsored housing areas.
Media who wish to cover this event should call Fort Hood Public Affairs at (254) 449-4023. On Nov. 7, media should meet public affairs representatives at 8:45 a.m. in the southside parking lot of the Marvin Leath Visitors Center for escort to the event.
FORT HOOD, Texas — The Directorate of Public Works Natural & Cultural Resources Management Branch along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Balcones National Wildlife Refuge is conducting a prescribed burn operation beginning at noon Nov. 1 in live-fire training area 80 at Dalton Mountain here.
The burn is contingent upon weather conditions and is in conjunction with training a Soldier firefighting detail. LTA 80 is located between East Range Road and West Range Roads near the northern portion of the Installation.
The burn will produce large quantities of smoke due to accumulated grasses, weeds, and brush. Fire & Emergency Services and the Directorate of Public Works will have adequate manpower and equipment on the scene to carry out the prescribed burn in a safe and efficient manner.
Gen. Joseph M. Martin, U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff, gives a shout-out to the West Fort Hood, Texas-based U.S. Army Operational Test Command (OTC) for its birthday to help celebrate 50 years of Operational Testing since October 1, 1969.
Martin commanded OTC June 2012 – April 2013.
Operational testing began Oct. 1, 1969, and as the Army’s only independent operational tester, OTC is celebrating “50 Years of Operational Testing.”
The unit enlists the “Total Army” (Active, National Guard, and Reserve) when testing Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer – the American Soldier.
(Video produced by Ms. Faith Quiroga, Audiovisual Production Specialist, U.S. Army)
MEDIA ADVISORY: First Team Troopers to return from deployment to Afghanistan
FORT HOOD, Texas — Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division headquarters will be welcomed home during a ceremony scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 2 at 12:15 a.m. on Cooper Field. This final flight of Soldiers is returning from a deployment to Train Advise Assist Command-South in Kandahar in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
The small contingent of Soldiers deployed from Fort Hood on Feb. 10, and were led by Brig. Gen. Miles Brown, Deputy Commanding General – Forward.
Media wishing to attend this event should RSVP by 2:30 p.m. Friday to Staff Sgt. Carolyn Hart via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attending media should meet their escort at the Fort Hood Visitors Center media parking area on T.J. Mills Blvd. no later than 11:30 p.m. Friday evening on Nov. 1.
Soldiers will be available for interview about the groups mission after the ceremony.
FORT HOOD, Texas — The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division will conduct a convoy movement of approximately 260 military vehicles using two different routes for a field training exercise. The convoys will depart between 5 a.m. – 6 p.m. Nov. 3 from Fort Hood to Camp Bowie Training Center, Brownwood, Texas. The unit will return after the exercise using the same times and routes Nov. 8.
These convoys will affect road traffic through the following Texas cities: Copperas Cove, Lampasas, Lometa, Goldthwaite, Kempner, Mullin, Bozar, Gatesville, Evant, Arnett, Star, and Zephyr.
Motorist can expect delays with increased traffic congestion and should plan accordingly.
In cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), traffic control points will be located at the following intersections; Highway 190 and 183, Highway 183 and FM 2126, FM 116 and Highway 84, FM 15 and Highway 84.
Additionally, residents west and north of Fort Hood will see an increase of aircraft flying from Fort Hood to Camp Bowie in support of the exercise.
For more information call the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade Public Affairs Representative at 254-291-4520 or 254-317-9567.
Spc. Yaw Kuffour, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Sgt. Jason Amodor, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, were the Soldier and noncommissioned officer winners of the III Corps Culinarian of the Year competition Oct. 24.
The competition lasted three days and consisted of three different challenges that not only tested the competitor’s culinary abilities, but their physical and mental capabilities as well.
On day one, the competitors prepared a salad, main course and dessert, in under three hours, using ingredients from a mystery basket. The food portion of the competition was worth 35% of their overall score. The second day consisted of the Army Physical Fitness Test which was worth 15% of their overall score. During the third and most challenging day, competitors faced the board and were asked questions to test their knowledge. The board portion of the challenge was worth 50% of their final score…………….READ MORE………..…………………….
VP stresses White House support for troops, modernization during Great Place visit
By Brandy Cruz
Fort Hood Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas – The applause was deafening as more than 1,500 Soldiers gave a big, Texas-sized welcome to Vice President Mike Pence, who toured the installation, watched a demonstration of the new Abrams tanks and conducted a round table session on Soldier transition assistance programs Oct. 29 here.
“I want to assure you that the president and the vice president – we don’t see veteran benefits as entitlements, we see them as earned benefits that are reflection and gratitude of the American people,” Pence said during the session with Fort Hood, congressional and with Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program leaders. “From early on this administration, we have been working to expand opportunities for veterans.”
Pence said he is hoping to learn more about Fort Hood’s successful transition program to help keep their promises to veterans and expand opportunities.
The vice president stressed to the troops during his speech that President Donald Trump is their biggest advocate, one who values the commitment and sacrifice it takes to serve in the armed forces, which is one of the reasons they want to learn more about how to better serve America’s veterans.
“Thank you for your service. I say that on behalf of a grateful nation,” Pence said. “We all know that with service comes sacrifice. Wherever you are called to serve, wherever you are deployed, I promise you, you will carry with you the strength and pride of this nation. You will carry with you the prayers of millions of American citizens.”
Before taking the podium inside a hangar at Hood Army Airfield, Pence observed a live-fire training event involving Bradley fighting vehicles and M1 Abrams tanks (System Enhanced Package versions 2 and 3). Afterward, he spoke with the crews and their commanders, thanking them for their service.
Pence noted that the Army will soon be fielding 300 new M1 Abrams tanks, a majority of which will be headed to Fort Hood.
After an evening arrival Oct. 28, the vice president said he took an opportunity to visit a memorial in Killeen, Texas, honoring the 13 men and women who died on Fort Hood Nov. 5, 2009. Recalling some of the stories of the fallen, he said “… faith gives us hope,” something needed as the fight against terror organizations continues.
“I thought it was very nice how much he emphasized the brotherhood we have in the military and how much it meant for the people we’ve lost and the people who are still here have to carry on without them,” Spc. Christian Frazier, Company B, Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, said. “It was really heartwarming.”
The vice president said the American people stand with the troops and the president will always have their back, noting that the nation’s security depends on military strength and that American troops are that strength.
“Be vigilant, mind your mission, respect the unified chain of command, keep taking care of each other and never doubt every decision you make,” Pence said, encouraging the troops. “It matters to the American people.”
Revealing he is the son of a Korean War veteran and proud father of a U.S. Marine Corps aviator, Pence told the troops that they are the best America has to offer, saying he is more grateful for their service than they will ever know. He also took the opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the families of troops, especially during deployments.
“I thought it was a very inspirational speech and to know he has a son in the Marine Corps. He’s part of our military family,” Pvt. Ian Faust, 96th Transportation Co., 553rd Sustainment Bn., 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Bde., 1st Cav. Div., said. “It hits me real close to home because I know how proud my family is because I’m in the military.”
In closing, Pence said he has faith, as long as there are men and women with the courage to serve, step forward, and stand for freedom, there will be peace in the United States.
“As long as we have heroes willing to put their lives on the line for us and for our freedom,” Pence said. “As long as we have patriots like all of you, who will protect this nation, who will defend our freedom … (we) will forge a future of securing prosperity and peace for ourselves and for generations to come.” Additional video footage is available here