Back to Focus

5th SFAB offers unique opportunity for soldiers’ career

SSgt. Matthew Crain and SSgt. Rebecca Trujillo, Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade, check soldiers’ paperwork during a validation exercise dubbed Vanguard Focus 23-1. Photo credit: JM Simpson

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

In the delicate work of maintaining and strengthening relations with this nation's military partners that the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade advises, small things matter.

Activated in May 2020, the brigade's approximate 800 volunteer soldiers conduct security force assistance (SFA) missions in the Indo-Pacific Area of Operations (AOR) to advise and train with allied countries with alliances with the U.S. and partner nations.

"In any great unit, they do the basics exceptionally well," began Maj. Nick LoRusso, the brigade's operation officer. "One of the things we message to folks is that they have the opportunity to serve in a unique unit doing a unique mission based on the expectation they can do the basics exceptionally well."

These basic skills were put to the test during a two-week long validation exercise dubbed Vanguard Focus 23-1. The exercise involved about 165 soldiers who comprise a "package" of 17 teams.

These teams were then broken up into a variety of different, smaller advising teams designed to address different training events in its AOR during an employment later this year. Employment is a specific term used by this brigade.

"This is all about continuing the contact layer that we've had since we've aligned to the AOR ... none of our partners, none of our allies have had a break in contact with us over the course of the last several years," explained Col. Lucas Braxton, the brigade's deputy commander.

He also said that current world events have provided context to the importance of the training with an emphasis on attention to detail, as well as to how the brigade's soldiers conduct themselves as American representatives in an allied country.

"Any action on our part obviously carries a message of the United States government in terms of our commitment and adherence to our standards overseas," continued Braxton.

But the point was clear - small things matter - and the soldiers - referred to as the target audience - practiced the basics of preparing for employmentat a Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) point, a containerization depot, an embassy training workshop, and a partner force engagement scenario.

At the SRP, SSgt. Crain Matthew and SSgt. Rebecca Trujillo, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, scrutinized the passports, orders and medical records and other papers needed to enter another country. 

"We verify everything because the wrong information can have a negative effect on a mission in a country where relations are vital," commented Trujillo.

When Maj. Matt Lensing, a 5th SFAB commander of a Company Advisor Team (CAT) heard this he added, "Everything done here is vital; winning on day one of the employment sets the tone for the mission."

Not only does the 5th SFAB's mastering of the basics better represent this nation to its partners in the Indo-Pacific, it also provides an opportunity for soldiers who might consider volunteering to serve with the brigade.

"This brigade represents a unique opportunity for soldiers to supercharge their careers; it's a broadening opportunity before a soldier goes back into the conventional force," concluded Crain.

"I encourage others to explore volunteering to serve with us."

Read next close

News Front

Meet Your Army event comes to JBLM

comments powered by Disqus