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SFAB advisors certify for employment

5th Maintaining trust in the Indo-Pacific

Team Leader Maj. Jonathan Chakeres, Engineer Company Advisor Team 5520, meets with the Commander of the Simulated Partner Force at JBLM Oct. 15, 2021. Photo credit: Pvt. Jonathan Vitale, Security Force Assistance Command Public Affairs

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JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD - The 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade certified 15 advisor teams for Indo-Pacific employment, Oct. 13-Oct. 21, 2021 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Rilea, Oregon during Exercise Vanguard Focus 22-1.

The exercise was a culminating training event designed as the final test for 5th SFAB's soon-to-be employed Force Package 22-1 featuring realistic scenarios to prepare advisors across the spectrum of conflict.

"Vanguard Focus 22-1 was designed based on feedback from Force Package 22-1-I with an emphasis on high-quality role players with real-world experience," Capt. Andrew Huntsman, Vanguard Focus 22-1 Lead Planner, said. "We reduced situational training events to add a focused staff exercise to better expose our junior advisors to the military operations process they may face in a conflict advise and liaison role."

Twelve-personnel Maneuver Advisor Teams from 3rd Squadron, 5th SFAB make up the bulk of Force Package 22-1-I with functional teams from 4th Battalion which possess field artillery specialties, engineers from 5th Brigade Engineer Battalion, and 6th Battalion representing logistics advisory capabilities.

Lt. Col. Gerry Resmondo will command Force Package 22-1-I as commander of 3/5 SFAB.

"Vanguard Focus continues to serve as the premiere team development and culminating collective training event for force packages preparing for impending employments," Resmondo said. "Vanguard Focus 22-1 has increased the overall proficiency of our teams and has allowed us to gain a ‘good' repetition that closely mirrors the specific operational and tactical tasks we will perform with our partners and allies."

Logistics Advisor Company 5610 were one of the teams participating in the certification.

"During Vanguard Focus, there were very valuable engagements built into the exercise, especially the embassy engagements, the media engagements and engagements with the role players," Chief Warrant Officer 3 Terry Ruppe, a logistics advisor with LAC 5610, said. "Each scenario is different, we feel better prepared as advisors and better prepared for this winter's employment in the Indo-Pacific."

Huntsman shared that 5th SFAB brought in numerous enablers to support the exercise. Many members of the partner force had special operations backgrounds while embassy role players were retired Department of State employees.

"During Vanguard Focus 22-1, we had media role players from Security Force Assistance Command, consultants and facilitators from U.S. Army Pacific Security Cooperation Division, the Army's Space Training Division, the Marines Corps' 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, the 1st Special Forces Group and observers from the 36th Contingency Response Group based in Guam," Huntsman said.

While the first half of the exercise centered on partnership building, the second half was centered at JBLM's Mission Training Center to simulate 5th SFAB activities during a conflict scenario.

"The conflict portion stressed team's ability to conduct planning alongside a partner force during combat operations," Maj. Jonathan Chakeres, Engineer Advisor Team 5520 Team Leader said. "We were pushed outside our comfort zones which made us relearn doctrine and planning factors at the brigade, division and even theater level."

JBLM's Mission Training Center offers an intensive training scenarios in a digital environment with experienced facilitators raising the training value of this portion of the training.

"Everyone on our team had to work at a field grade level, and everyone got an excellent opportunity to experience planning in an environment that most of us have never seen before," Chakeres added.

Employing next month, Force Package 22-1-I will be dispersed across the Indo-Pacific in various locations. In the past, teams have trained in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Maldives, and the Philippines.

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