War on Terrorism

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

South Dakota Guard unit train servicemembers for war

By Army Sgt. Rebecca Linder
196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan (1/26/11) – Whether it is preparing operation plans or tracking personnel and information throughout the Kabul Base Cluster, the Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization ensures troops are trained, safe, and ready to fight.

This section of the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, South Dakota Army National Guard, is just one that provides situational awareness and tactical training for the more than 9,000 U.S. and coalition forces stationed throughout 11 bases in the KBC.

“Running current operations is our mission here,” said Army Maj. Todd Bartunek, the director of the DPTM. “There are several soldiers standing by for anything that might happen that we should be aware of; whether it is recovering stolen property, attacks, fires or anything that we have to get involved with.

“We have to be ready, trained and plan to respond to those events.”

When it comes to informing troops of threats within the KBC, the DPTM’s installation operations center makes sure all units know if it is safe to travel or conduct their missions.

“The IOC manages the information flow,” said Bartunek. “If they get information about IEDs [improvised explosive devices], or other pertinent information, then we need to inform our troops in and around the KBC so they don’t get caught up in what is going on outside the wire.”

“We monitor all communication nets, maintain a common operating picture for the region, and provide the command and staff with situational awareness through information flow and management,” said Army Maj. Christopher Engbrecht, the IOC officer-in-charge.

The IOC also tracks KBC staff movements with 100 percent accountability, he said.

Also part of DPTM’s mission is keeping servicemembers safe by ensuring their weapons are properly “zeroed” in to each soldier, and making sure each person who comes to the KBC is properly trained on combat tactics.

“The training the units receive when they come to country is the most current,” said Army Lt. Col. Tim Butts, the 196th director of Joint Reception, Staging and Onward Integration.

“We do IED, vehicle rollover and tactical directive training,” he said. “That way when every soldier comes into country, they have the current tactics, techniques and procedures so they are prepared to go out and do their mission to the best they can do, with confidence.”

Making sure operations are conducted efficiently, all incoming personnel are trained and ready to fight, and ensuring the servicemembers who are already in country continue to be safe is what DPTM strives to do, he said.

“The combined efforts of the IOC, JRSOI and the plans section are something we don't take lightly,” said Bartunek. “Our mission is necessary for the overall success of the KBC.”

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