By Lt. Col. Jerry L. Jones Jr., Test Officer, Maneuver Test Directorate, U.S. Operational Test Command
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina — 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers helping the Army make decisions on its newest program to provide Infantry Soldiers with a mixed reality headset.
Working toward a future when cloud services, squad radios, and necessary combat information can be combined and visualized on a set of futuristic goggles, Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team are rehearsing combat missions under sweltering 100 degree-plus heat, high humidity, and even a few thunderstorms.
According to Program Executive Office Soldier, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) may one day integrate next generation 24/7 situational awareness tools and high-resolution digital sensors to deliver a single platform that improves Soldier sensing, decision making, target acquisition, and target engagement.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said during first looks at IVAS, “Remember early satellite phones from the 1980s that wealthy people had in their cars? They were big and clunky and now we have iPhones. It took us some time to get there.”
Capt. Roberto Huie, commander of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 82nd Airborne Division, said seeing the location of all his Soldiers wearing the system is a huge benefit.
“Such a system will significantly improve reaction time for unit leaders who make decisions under the stress of battle,” he said.
The Opposing Force Commander, Capt. Phillip Johnston of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 82nd Airborne Division, said the test gave him an opportunity to train his company, with nine separate missions to plan, rehearse and execute.
“We trained at a level of we have not seen previously in the Army,” he said. “It was invaluable to have an outside look into the Company from the Operational Test Command without having the pressure of graded evaluations that normally come with training events.”
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
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 taps 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.
The Maneuver Test Directorate (MTD), based at Fort Hood, Texas, is the Operational Test Command’s lead directorate for conducting independent operational testing of infantry, armor, and robotic systems to inform acquisition and fielding decisions for the Army and select joint Warfighting systems. Poised, ready, and always able, the MTD has and will remain the “go to” test directorate to provide the Army Futures Command and senior U.S. Army Leadership with the truthful test feedback they require to make informed decisions as to what capabilities will be brought to bear against future adversaries in Multi-Domain Battle around.
You are invited to cover and take part in the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division family Tank family gunnery day on Tuesday, Aug. 9 and Bradley family gunnery day on Aug. 11 at Fort Hood, Texas.
This event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and offers a great opportunity for military family members to experience what it entails to be a Tank or Bradley crewman while watching their Troopers participate in a live gunnery range at Pilot Knob Multiuse and Henson Mountain Multiuse.
Media desiring to cover this event must RSVP to Staff Sgt. Ashley Dotson no later than 4:30 p.m. Aug. 8.
A public affairs representative will meet the media at the south parking lot of Marvin Leath Visitors Center located on T. J. Mills Blvd. at 8:30 a.m. for an escort to the event.
FORT HOOD, TX – The First Team hosted Troy Aikman, former National Football League quarterback, to give a glimpse of what our Troopers do during his visit to Fort Hood, Texas on July 26.
“This is the chance of a lifetime,” said Aikman. “I have never had the opportunity to fly in a military helicopter, ride in a tank and hangout with CAV Soldiers.”
During his visit, Aikman was able to fly in a Blackhawk with Troopers assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, watch from the tower as 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment tankers showcased their skills as they qualified at Blackwell Multiuse range and even had the opportunity to assist a crew as they shot a round in the most modern tank in the Army; the Abrams M1A2 SEPv3.
“He was very excited to see what it takes to be a part of a tank crew,” said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy C. Sensel, 1st Cavalry Division Abrams master gunner as he discussed mentoring Aikman at the gunnery. “He gave us the fire command and we were able to successfully destroy the enemy target.”
Aikman was gifted the case base of the round that he and the crew fired together so that he can always remember to Live the Legend.
“These Soldiers are the heartbeat of America and the real heroes,” continued Aikman. “We often use those terms in athletics but these men and women are the ones who truly make it happen for us. Until you actually go to a base and speak to them and hear their stories, it helps put their lives in perspective. I have the utmost respect for them and I think it has gone up even more just being around them.”
Aikman spoke with the Soldiers and First Team leaders, sharing experiences of comradery and teamwork.
“We appreciate Troy Aikman taking the time to visit the First Team and motivating our Troopers,” said Brig. Gen. Steven P. Carpenter, 1st Cavalry Division deputy commanding general of maneuver. “He saw a glimpse of what it takes to train and build teams in the most lethal armored formation on the face of the earth. Those Troopers conducted gunnery in 105 degree heat over the last three weeks, and to have a three-time Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Famer refer to them as “his heroes” was extremely impactful. They will never forget the experience.”
After renaming one of the tanks ‘Aikman’ he bid farewell to all of the Troopers.
“It is really great to be here,” concluded Aikman. “Thank you for allowing me to be here, it is an honor to see the brave men and women who really make it happen for our country. Thank you for all that you do. Meeting the Soldiers who are fans of many teams made me realize that the great thing about the military, is that all of you are on one team. It is the same team that I played for – the United States. It feels good to have Soldiers like you represent our country.”
Aikman is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. After transferring from Oklahoma, he won the Davey O’Brien Award at UCLA and was selected first overall by the Cowboys in the 1989 NFL Draft. As the Cowboys’ longest-tenured quarterback, Aikman received six Pro Bowl selections and won three Super Bowl titles from 1992 to 1995. He was also named MVP of Super Bowl XXVII. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
FORT HOOD, Texas — The Fort Hood Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation is teaming up with the Education Services Division to host the Fort Hood Education & Family Resource Fair from 12:30 - 4 p.m., July 27, Soldier Development Center, Bldg. 33009, located on 761st Tank Battalion Avenue.
The entire community is invited to this free event, which will help provide information about area school districts, colleges and community resources.
There is no cost to attend the resource fair.
Media who wish to attend should call (254) 291-2317 and meet media escort at the Marvin Leath visitor center south-side parking lot at noon.
Story by: Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV and the 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs Office
On Sept. 13, 2021, America’s First Team held a birthday celebration to honor the division’s centennial anniversary. Over the past 100 years, the 1st Cavalry Division has demonstrated courage, audacity, and emerged victorious on the battlefields of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 1st Cavalry Division was activated in 1921 at Fort Bliss, Texas as a horse-mounted division. In 1942 the division turned in its horses for service in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The 1st Cavalry Division distinguished themselves as the “First Team” by being the first in Manila in February 1945 to free a group of civilian internees during World War II; the first to lead occupational forces into Japan making it the “First in Tokyo” in September 1945; the first to close in on the North Korean capital city, Pyongyang, in October 1950; and the first into Cambodia in May 1970 during the Vietnam War.
Over the past century, 1st CAV Troopers fought on horseback and as dismounted infantry conducting amphibious landings during WWII and Korea, and operationalized the vertical maneuver with air mobile infantry during the Vietnam War. In 1991, the division received the first M1 Tanks, which they used to crush Iraq’s Republican Guard during the Gulf War. In 2003, the division adapted to support counterinsurgency operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
In our 100 years of service, 44 Troopers who served with the division were recognized with our Nation’s highest military accolade, the Congressional Medal of Honor, for courageous actions during combat operations. Forty-six campaign streamers and unit awards are also proudly displayed on the division’s Colors as a testament to the service and sacrifice demonstrated by First Team units over the past century.
Today, the division continues to seek opportunities to honor our legacy and legends of the past. Following the closure of the 1st Cavalry Division Museum, in June, the command team unveiled Heritage Hall, located at the south entrance of the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters. This newly remodeled section of the building includes an audio narration of the division’s rich history and traditions which accompanies interactive displays of artifacts, equipment and mannequins representing the units’ Troopers past and present donated by the U.S. Army Center for Military History. For the next year, the original Medal of Honor award presented to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment Trooper, Cpl. Tibor Rubin, by President George W. Bush in 2005, will be among the displays for all new teammates and visitors to view.
Over the past year, the division also took time to rebalance priorities including investing in their Soldiers while continuing to provide tough, realistic training and leader development opportunities. In October 2021, the First Team inaugurated Pegasus Troop, a reception and integration company focused on welcoming new Troopers and their Families into the “First Team.” All incoming personnel take part in an eight day integration process which includes an introduction to personnel services and programs offered by the division and the Fort Hood installation. Participants also complete an Army Combat Fitness Test, physical training with the division command team and take part in interactive classroom training on the 1st Cavalry Division history and traditions; as well as, essential programs like sexual harassment and assault prevention and equal opportunity. While going through this extended reception period, newcomers and their families are given time to handle any outstanding administrative, childcare or housing issues enabling them to report to their units fully ready to support the mission. At the conclusion of the integration process, Troopers take part in a patching ceremony where their future leaders place the big yellow 1st Cav patch on the left side of their uniforms.
Currently, the division is globally engaged with Troopers conducting operations or participating in exercises in the Middle East and Europe. Following successful training rotations at the National Training Center where both 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, “BLACK JACK” and 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, “GREYWOLF” returned to Fort Hood, Texas ready to deploy and support any exercise or mission.
On May 13, the U.S. Secretary of Defense ordered the deployment of 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team to the U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command area of operations to assure NATO allies, deter Russian aggression and to be prepared to support a range of other requirements in the region.
During the past month, approximately, 4,100 Troopers deployed with their assigned equipment and vehicles to train and work alongside the other U.S. units already in Europe supporting the NATO Response Force.
The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, recently completed their modernization period. The brigade is receiving and training with the newest tanks, artillery and mission command systems. They are also maintaining readiness through unit-level training including gunneries and field exercises in preparation for a larger training exercise next summer at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
During the next few years, the 1st Cavalry Division will undergo a cutting-edge modernization process that will include restructuring the division headquarters, armored brigade combat teams, engineer units and artillery formations. These changes are in response to emerging threats and the Army’s decision to refocus the division as the unit of action- an adjustment from the previous brigade-centric operations in support of counterinsurgency missions.
The 1st CAV will look similar to what it does today, with three armored brigade combat teams, a division artillery brigade, a sustainment brigade, and a combat aviation brigade but will add additional capabilities to enable the division to fight as a division during Large Scale Combat Operations.
The division has already began fielding latest armor equipment, vehicles and advanced weapons systems including the new Mobile Short Range Air Defense System (M-SHORAD) M1A2SEPv3 Abrams Tank, M109A7 Paladin, and the new Joint Lightweight Tactical Vehicle, which will replace the HMMWV. Currently the division is also experimenting with robots and unmanned vehicles both aerial and terrestrial. These equipment and structural changes will make the First Team the most modern Armored Division in the Army with the capability to compete and fight against peer adversaries.
On June 24, the division re-activated the 6th Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery, which will provide air defense capabilities against the threat of enemy aircraft, drones and cruise missiles. This re-activation includes the fielding of the M-SHORAD, which will bring enhanced capabilities to the Division.
The division is also participating in a pilot program for the restructuring of reconnaissance and security formations within the Army’s Armored Divisions. This includes re-establishing a Division Cavalry Squadron and reducing the BCT recon elements from Cavalry Squadrons to Armored Cavalry Troops. This pilot program is one of the ways the First Team is adapting to the Army’s shift in focus from brigade-centric counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations to large scale combat operations.
As the Nation’s premier armored force, the 1st Cavalry Division will always train and be ready to fight and win at the point of contact while continuing to invest in their Troopers, building cohesive teams, and honoring the selfless service and sacrifice of past Troopers who contributed to the prestigious CAV legacy we aim to represent each day.
FORT HOOD, Texas -The 302nd Squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force welcomed a new commander to the unit during a ceremony July 22, at the squadron’s hangar on Robert Gray Army Airfield here.
The Dutch welcomed Lt. Col. Wilko De Waard, as he accepted command from outgoing commander Lt. Col. Martin ‘t Jong. The new commander returns to the Great Place from his previous assignment as the chief of Apache Operations at the Royal Netherlands Air Force Headquarters.
De Waard’s first assignment here was in 2003, when he completed training with the 301st Squadron under the leadership of the 21st Cavalry Aviation Brigade (Air Combat). The training program has since evolved into the 302nd Sqdn. as a permanent unit of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The squadron works closely with the 166th Aviation Brigade, First Army Division West.
The 302nd originally came to Fort Hood 26 years ago for training assistance. The unit became known as the Netherlands Apache Training Program under the 21st Cavalry Combat Aviation Training Brigade. Over the last few decades, the unit’s name may have changed, but not their mission. They trained experienced AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilots, crew chiefs, maintainers, and support personnel. Together, they work to maintain a high level of readiness.
“My first encounter was with a Dutch 302nd Squadron, Apache Squadron,” De Waard said. “My Apache experience since then, and my experience of commanding a Chinook-only deployment in 2017 (in Afghanistan), would all merge here at this moment, at this place.”
Over the past four years, the outgoing commander has been credited with a long list of achievements. He oversaw countless training hours for both Apache and Chinook pilots and loadmasters, ensuring the Royal Netherlands Air Force and Army maintained a high standard for Dutch combat-ready troops in the air assault and helicopter domain.
“As commander, you typically get credited with all of the unit’s achievement, and I’ve said many, many times before, and I’ll say it again, all that credit is for you, the people to my right, the people in front of me,” a grateful ‘t Jong said to those gathered in the hanger.
While stationed at Fort Hood, ‘t Jong and his family had a chance to travel across the state of Texas and America, learning more about the country. He said that the friendships and memories his family have made would last them a lifetime. He said he looks forward to returning home to show his friends and family his newfound cooking repertoire.
“Your way of life and friendship showed us the real Texas. Not only have we really got to live the Texas life ourselves, we also got to understand so much more … a treasure our family will carry with us for the rest of our lives,” said ‘t Jong. “To our friends and family watching from the Netherlands, get ready for some real barbecue. I’ve acquired some genuine mad Texas skills.”
De Waard thanked those who attended both locally and via Zoom and said he looks forward to the adventure ahead.
“We’re all in on this adventure together,” the new commander said. “Royal six signing on!”
FORT HOOD, Texas – The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government awarded Troopers from 1st Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment the Rising to Excellence award for their volunteerism with the Central Texas Partnership in a virtual ceremony earlier today.
This is the first time the NAVPLG has awarded the Rising to Excellence award to an Army unit.
“There are so many unsung heroes – people who volunteer their time and skills to make their communities better,” said Mary Lynn Perry, President of NAVPLG. “We applaud these programs and the volunteer managers who make them possible.”
Present to receive the award were Staff Sgt. Michael Diehr, Sgt. Marcus Brown, Sgt. Harper Horton and Sgt. Justin Wolfe who dedicated over 100 hours to the environmental stewardship program at Thomas Arnold Elementary School in Salado, Texas, beautifying school grounds and teaching students about gardening.
No strangers to volunteering, the non-commissioned officers and other members from the volunteer team deeply appreciate the privilege to work with their adopted school.
“On behalf of Tiger Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment I would like to thank the Cen-Tex partnership and the folks at Thomas Arnold Elementary for the opportunity to join the communities’ sound practices and to add to the surrounding quality of life,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Diehr.” This was truly a rewarding opportunity to allow the joined communities to flourish.”
Founded in 1997, NAVPLG is an international association of administrators for volunteer programs in local, city, and county government. NAVPLG encourages professional development and networking among those who manage volunteers in local government.
“I would like to thank the NAVPLG and the Cen-Tex Organization,” said Ltc. Russell Thomas, commander of 1st Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment. “Their values are in line with the direction that the Army is going. I’m proud of these Troopers.”
In 2021, the Fort Hood volunteer community contributed over 43,000 hours – the equivalent of just over $1.2 million – to various volunteer programs on the installation and the surrounding communities.
For more information on how to volunteer at Fort Hood and in the surrounding communities, visit https://hood.armymwr.com/programs/army-volunteer-corps.
The 1st Cavalry Division will host a change of command ceremony for the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery “RED TEAM” signifying the brigade’s change of leadership Jul. 20 at 8:30 a.m. on Cooper Field at Fort Hood, Texas.
Col. Neil Snyder will relinquish command to Col. Timothy D. Gatlin after commanding the brigade for two years.
Story by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Charles Porter, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas. — Approximately 4,200 troopers, primarily composed of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, will deploy to support NATO allies, deter further aggression against NATO member states and train with host-nation forces by the end of the month.
“Soldiers and Leaders of this illustrious organization, have trained hard and are prepared for the upcoming deployment and thank you for all that you will do as we head overseas,” said Col. John Gilliam, commander of 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team.
The 3rd ABCT recently completed one of the most successful rotations in recent history to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California in preparation for their deployment to Europe. Using new vehicles and equipment, including the Abrams M1A2 SEPV3 main battle tanks and Joint Lightweight Tactical Vehicles, the 3rd ABCT was able to test their combined arms capability.
“The truest test of readiness, a no notice deployment to a real world crisis in Europe, in support of European Command where this brigade has prepared to deploy to eastern Europe to reassure our NATO allies and to deter our adversaries on the European continent.” said Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson, 1st Cavalry Division commanding general.
3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team will replace the 1st Armored Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. These deployments are a one-for-one unit replacement which leaves the overall force posture in the region unchanged.
“It’s your individual and collective task to create great moments,” said Gilliam, “Show our allies how strong and effective a well-led ABCT can be and show our adversaries the folly of testing the U.S. Army. It will be a hell of a ride, and I look forward to serving with each of you.”
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