Local soldiers deploy for battle exercise in Kansas - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Local soldiers deploy for battle exercise in Kansas

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TROY, NY - The New York Army National Guard Soldiers from the Troy-based 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters travel to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Monday to participate in a large-scale battle simulation exercise known to the troops as a Warfighter.

The Capital District Soldiers will be joined at Fort Leavenworth by more than 75 additional 42nd Infantry Division Soldiers from Western New York and another 100 flying out from the Hudson Valley. Troops will head to Kansas using both military airlift or a commercial charter aircraft.

The Warfighter exercise tests the skills of all staff sections and enables them to work as individual sections and collectively as a team. The exercise is a culminating event in which some 400 Soldiers from the division have been preparing for more than two years.

In June 2013, more than 100 division Soldiers were able to participate in the California National Guard's 40th Infantry Division Warfighter, working to simulate their higher headquarters unit.

Taking part in a Warfighter is crucial to test the systems, equipment, and information flow.

"The importance of participating in a Division Warfighter can't be understated," said 42nd Infantry Division Chief of Staff Col. Philip Pugliese. "It exercises the Division's role as the Army's primary tactical warfighting headquarters in commanding brigades in decisive action. The training is first-class and combines offensive, defensive and stability operations. This training experience will enhance our Division's overall readiness and mission posture."

The division leaders and staff will operate alongside observer-controller trainers from the Mission Command Training Program. These MCTP experts will assess the 42nd Infantry Division's ability to plan, communicate, react and respond to battlefield changes through a complex computer simulation. The division will oversee more than 14,000 notional Soldiers on a high-intensity battlefield, requiring planning complex battle orders, personnel and medical plans, logistical support and integrating the full spectrum of battlefield players such as field artillery, aviation in a rapidly changing environment.

"The Mission Command Training Program is an extremely capable and knowledgeable group of subject matter experts across all areas of command and battle," said Brig. Gen. Keith Jones, commander of the 40th Infantry Division following his 2013 exercise. "They really are the true subject matter experts. The manner of their coaching technique is the positive contribution to the steep learning curve for an exercise like this," he said.

The end result is to continue to improve the capabilities of the 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters by and better prepare the division for any potential state emergency or federal mission.

The exercise is scheduled to run up to the last week of May when the troops will redeploy home.

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