CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division deployed more than 3,000 soldiers around the world about two months ago. So what exactly are they doing now?
Well, it depends on which mission is in question. There are many.
Some Greywolf soldiers are supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in the fight against ISIS. Many are sustaining readiness through intensive training across the U.S. Army Central Command area of responsibility. Others routinely fly to partnered nations to train in exercises that span languages and borders in the name of interoperability. And back home, the families have launched an ongoing project to support their deployed soldiers.
The brigade’s overarching mission — serving as the reserve force for United States Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East — takes many forms.
One contingent of Greywolf’s artillery soldiers are supporting the Iraqi Army with precision fire from their self-propelled howitzers. The New York Times called their particular mission part of a “crucial role against ISIS in Mosul.”
Other soldiers maintain the brigade’s tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, more howitzers, and a myriad of support vehicles, and carry out day-to-day operations.
But day-to-day is a relative term. The tempo is high. The sheer numbers and tonnage of an armored brigade combat team are daunting. The current deployment involved more than 3,000 soldiers and 2,800 vehicles, moved by air, land and sea.
About 10 days after the brigade arrived, soldiers began a gunnery exercise. Day and night, Greywolf soldiers drove their fighting vehicles through desert firing ranges, slinging 60-pound rounds of ammunition by hand and firing the Army’s big guns.
The idea is to keep skills sharp.
The gunnery involved more than 80 tanks, 130 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 15 Paladin howitzers. There are multiple levels of gunnery, beginning with individual and crew training (which involves only one vehicle at a time, and its crew); and culminating with larger groups of disparate armored vehicles, infantry and artillery fighting in concert. The Army’s term for this type of fighting is “combined arms.” The brigade plans multiple combined arms exercises through summer and fall.
Partnership at the international level is a major part of the mission as well. The brigade trains regularly with multiple nations to increase interoperability.
One of several theater security cooperation exercises — major multinational training events — was Eagle Resolve 2017, held in Kuwait in late March and early April.
“Eagle Resolve is a (combined) training exercise with Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and American forces,” said Capt. David Hale, commander of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, a subordinate unit of the brigade.
Hale’s company supported Eagle Resolve. During the exercise, his soldiers assumed the role of the “enemy,” giving the multinational force a thinking, fighting adversary to square up with, making the scenario more challenging.
“It’s been a great learning experience from the top down,” said Hale. “I think all of us are taking a lot from this.”
Back at Fort Hood, the other half of the Greywolf team — families — have launched a project of their own in a creative show of support. They call it the Greywolf Trek to Kuwait and Back.
For the duration of the nine-month deployment, they plan to walk, run, or roll, logging their mileage monthly in a friendly competition among Greywolf’s subordinate units.
The ultimate goal? Rack up the equivalent of a round trip to Kuwait — 15,000 miles.