Community leaders and family members got an up-close and personal look at what goes on inside a warfighter exercise during a Saturday Community Leaders Day event at Fort Hood.
Sgt. Maj. Kalep Perez, sergeant major for the Sustainment Area Command Post, led a group of approximately 11 people through the various cells that make up a sustainment area, guiding and teaching visitors about various aspects of logistics, protection,support maneuvers and communications.
“Its great having these people out here today. They are very interested in what the event is about, what our plans for the future of III Corps are, what the soldiers are actually doing, the equipment that we are utilizing and what we are training for,” said Perez.
Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, made a brief appearance to talk about how warfighter training helps with understanding modern issues on the battlefield.
“Warfighter trainings used to be rehearsal exercises, but they aren’t anymore. Now we are back into decisive action, taking on a near-peer threat and maybe deeper into a 21st century set of capabilities,” he said.
Opening remarks were given by British Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, III Corps deputy commander for sustainment. Gedney took the time to explain the fundamentals of what comprises the warfighter exercise as well as explaining the importance of having multinational forces participate with different brigades and divisions.
“We have a division here from the UK at the moment and that enables us to ensure that we can plug in another nation’s combat capability into the corps. And that presents particular challenges in communications. But overcoming those challenges and making sure our communication systems can talk to each other, so we can operate together, is what this exercise allows for. This as well as the logistical challenges of sharing resources,” he said.
During the event, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra noted the similarities between the warfighter and how everything comes together, much like it would in a city.
“It’s awesome. We really enjoy what they do, being able to see the amount of work that goes into it. I asked (Col. Henry ‘Hank’ Perry) earlier how much time it takes to set up, and he told me about two weeks. That is just amazing the technology, and I was going to say infrastructure, because that is what we do in the city and it’s pretty much like that,” Segarra said.
For the family members, like Candice Lambert, the exercise gave her an opportunity to bond more with her husband.
“I know he goes out to the field all the time, but I never really knew what he did. But now, getting to see and touch some of the systems and equipment he works with, I can figure it out. Which is nice, because it gives us more to talk about instead of just him going to (physical trainig), going to work and then coming home. Plus, the kids love getting to spend time with their dad,” she said.
Funk went on to explain the importance of incorporating community leaders and families at a live, multinational training exercise like warfighter.
“You got to be able to show your capabilities and you’ve got to adapt. You are always going to have visitors on the battlefield. Civilians live on battlefields — war is a truly human endeavor, and us as soldiers have to be mindful of that,” he said.