FORT HOOD – The Army’s highest ranking officer, Gen James C. McConville, visited Fort Hood and discussed the Warfighter 2021 exercise and “Operation People First” initiative on Thursday.
Warfighter 2021 is a corps-level exercise involving about 3,000 U.S., U.K., and French troops, and at least four installations including Fort Hood, Fort Bliss, Fort Bragg, N.C., and Grafenwoehr, Germany. The exercise indicates the U.S. Army’s return to preparedness for large-scale theater-wide combat operations, focusing on interoperability with multinational forces.
“This is a very important exercise because it’s not only with the III Corps, the 1st Armored Division and many of our other units, but also with a division from the United Kingdom and a division from France,” said McConville, the Army’s chief of staff. “So, we think this is an extremely important exercise for the United States military, the United States Army, and for our NATO partners.
McConville said the exercise was a great opportunity for the United States to work on interoperability and large-scale ground operations with lessons learned on teamwork.
“During each operation we got better, we got stronger, and we leave this exercise with a much stronger military, both for the United States, the United Kingdom and France,” McConville said.
McConville commented briefly on Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was found dead at end of June after being reported missing from Fort Hood on April 22, 2020, in relation to the ‘People First’ initiative, and what the U.S. Army is doing because of that tragedy.
“For the Guillen family, my heart goes out to them. I had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Guillen and I told her we would take the lessons learned about what happened to Vanessa, and we would implement them across Fort Hood, and implement them across the entire Army, and we are in the process of doing that,” McConville said. “That is why we set up the ‘People First’ task force.”