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Supporting the 2nd Strykers

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Last month, the 2nd Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) Mustangs of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division deployed to a training area on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and then jumped to Yakima Training Center (YTC) to support the brigade's 2011 Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX). 

"The training the Mustang (Battalion) conducted leading up to and during the 2-2 BDE CALFEX at YTC was critical in our Battalion's ability to certify the companies in Full Spectrum Operations," said Battalion Commander Lt. Col. David Chipchase.

The monumental task of deploying the largest battalion in the brigade was handled by the battalion's five companies.  Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) took care of the field feeding teams (which served an average of 650 Soldiers per meal and a total of more than 10,000 meals), the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and the Administration and Logistics Operations Center (ALOC). Alpha Company handled the transportation assets as well as the fuel, water, and ammunition distribution. Bravo Company established area security and maintenance assets while Charlie Company handled medical and dental needs. The 21st Signal Company ensured communications through radio and secured network connectivity.

Full spectrum operations brings Soldiers back to the harsh reality that not all areas they will deploy to are developed, that even AAFES will not go where they go, and that the application of basic soldiering skills will save their life. Soldiers quickly understood that teamwork was paramount in completing any mission, whether it meant hammering pickets into the ground and setting triple strand concertina wire, or providing security while other Soldiers were setting up sleep areas.

During the training, the field maintenance company (Bravo Company, 2nd BSB) faced the monumental task of running the Entry Control Point (ECP) and the largest section of perimeter security while at the same time providing constant maintenance coverage. 

As full spectrum operations were a "new" concept to most of the B Co. Soldiers, a steep learning curve was anticipated, met, and quickly overcome.  Maintenance was B Co.'s bread and butter, but ECP operations, perimeter security, and search procedures were not practiced prior to the training rotation; many Soldiers had an idea of how to conduct it, but were not entirely sure on proper procedures.  This is where the value of veteran Soldiers paid off.  Senior NCOs maximized time to train squad leaders and team leaders, ingraining age-old tactics, techniques, and procedures from the "old-Army" to a new generation of warriors and leaders. 

Charlie Company convoyed to JBLM's Training Area 20 and took part in a field training exercise that not only prepared the providers for the mental and physical strain of a Mass Casualty (MASCAL), but also to save lives. The simulation is designed to mimic a real life situation, "in the injuries seen, in setting up the trauma teams, in getting used to a systematic approach to trauma and dealing with the unexpected," said Capt.  Matthew Rodgers, 2nd Brigade BSB surgeon.  

The highly trained professionals of the Mustang Battalion ensured continued brigade support while maintaining and sustaining their own training tasks at a high standard. The field exercise pushed the limits of every Soldier in the Mustang battalion and ensured that its self-sustaining systems held in place in an austere and remote environment while providing world-class support to the Lancer Brigade (2-2 SBCT). "I am extremely proud of all the training that we conducted and the support that we provided to the BDE was second to none," Chipchase said.

The exercise also proved that the Mustangs will always rise to the challenge, support first, and seize the high ground.

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