Kentucky’s 201st Engineers train with West Virginia Guardsmen

Story and photos by 1st Lt. Nick Brophy, 201st Engineer Battalion

NOTE:  Each week kentuckyguard.com publishes stories by or about Kentucky National Guard unit public affairs historian representatives, also known as UPAHRs.  This is an additional duty taken on by a Soldier or Airmen with the intent of telling their unit’s story.  This is one such story ….

111th EN BDE command post

Jamie Gentry of Northrop Grumman gives instruction to the 111th Engineer Brigade staff after the first day of a joint exercise at Camp Dawson, W. Va., April 30, 2012. An audience of 40 brigade and battalion staff members were present for this instruction. (Kentucky National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Nick Brophy, 201st Engineer Battalion/Released)

CAMP DAWSON, W.Va. –Members of the 201st Engineer Battalion, located in Ashland, Ky, collaborated with the 111th Engineer Brigade from the West Virginia National Guard to act as pucksters representing the 201st during a simulation exercise held at Camp Dawson, W.Va., April 30 – May 7.

According to U.S. Army simulation doctrine, pucksters are simulation controllers who supervise involved units and systems related to the exercise.

The 111th Engineers requested the participation of the 201st ten months ago to assist them with testing the capabilities of the 111th’s brigade staff during this simulated theater exercise.

Jamie Gentry, Operations Specialist for Northrop Grumman, facilitated the exercise, along with several other representatives from Northrop Grumman. Their objective, as a training staff, was to assess the brigade staff’s effectiveness in performing the appropriate battle drills at their level, test the tactical standard operating procedures of the 111th, and make recommendations to improve their overall effectiveness for future operations.

For the 111th Engineers to be effective with improving their operations, they needed a full brigade of assets. The 111th doesn’t have enough personnel to perform the exercise, which is where the 201st came into play.

The 201st responded with a diverse team of officers and enlisted personnel. Their team of pucksters, led by 1st Lt. Mark Campbell, was instrumental in accomplishing the training objectives.

201st EN BN TOC

2nd Lt. Mike Tackett (front) and 1st Lt. Mark Campbell (center) from the 201st Engineer Battalion utilize the Command Post of the Future system to create overlays, perform battle drills, and attend Battle Update Briefs during a joint exercise at Camp Dawson, W. Va., May 1, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Nick Brophy, 201st Engineer Battalion/Released)

During their time at Camp Dawson, members of the 201st received specialized training on relevant systems currently being used in theater today. These systems include: Command Post of the Future, Joint Conflict and Tactical Simulation, Ventrilo, a voice command communication system, and Battle Command Sustainment Support System, which provided the tools necessary to perform the operation and valuable insight to the war gaming process.

Prior to the simulation exercise at Camp Dawson, as many as 22 members of the Engineer community (both 201st and 206th), participated in a Military Decision Making Process seminar, hosted by Gentry at the Richmond Armory in February.

This weeklong training session allowed senior leaders, such as Lt. Col. Dean Gosney from the 201st to not only train junior officers and enlisted members on the MDMP process, but also to gain knowledge themselves or refresh their understanding from the experts at Northrop Grumman.

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