‘Unified Endeavor’ ties together Iraq-bound units

26 Jun 2006 | Cpl. Ruben. D. Maestre

The U.S. Army 3rd Corps, Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force and service members from other commands recently completed a mission rehearsal exercise here, June 23.

The exercise, dubbed Unified Endeavor 06-2, highlighted training scenarios for the command staff of 3rd Corps while integrating command staff members from II MEF and the Army’s 1st Calvary Division and 25th Infantry Division. The units are being readied for upcoming deployments to Iraq  in support of combat operations.

“This has been an incredibly complex exercise, and we have learned a lot from this,” said Army Maj. Gen. James E. Simmons, 3rd Corps deputy commander, during a press briefing June 22 as the exercise came to a close.

Subject matter experts from U.S. Joint Forces Command, Central Command and Marine Training Command, also contributed by providing their input and expertise to the exercise’s participants.

“They provided valuable insight into the complex issues involved in operating in Iraq,” said Marine Lt. Col. Jeff Fultz, a USJFCOM lead planner with exercise and operations, II MEF. “It was good to talk to those who are there currently and using their expertise as we prepare for any possibility.”

The exercise consisted of the various commands working together in a joint environment, confronting and tackling various scenarios which may arise in Iraq. One of the challenges faced by the trainees was receiving and passing on information coming from a simulated battlefield, and then delivering the information in the quickest, most accurate and precise manner to those most capable of addressing the situations.

“This was a command post and simulation driven exercise,” said Army Col. Mike Formica, director of the USJFCOM Joint Warfighting Center’s Joint Exercise Control Group. “We exercised some command and control systems we didn’t have before.”

Officials with II MEF say the exercise increased their capabilities in coordinating with higher commands and other units.

“This (exercise) gave II MEF a tremendous opportunity to begin building relationships with other units,” said Fultz. “It also gave us an opportunity to train our staff members and leadership on the unique challenges for those who may deploy in the future.”

In addition to the Army and Marine units highlighted in the training, Air Force and Navy personnel assisted in the exercise. Service members from the United Kingdom, Poland, South Korea and Italy also participated in the event.

According to military officials, planning for Unified Endeavor 07-2 is scheduled to begin during July.