FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. – More than 4,000 U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from roughly 50 units across the country are participating in Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) 91 13-01 until April 26.
The CSTX involves soldiers with a variety of military job skills including medical, military police, logistics, engineering, and chemical among many others.
The exercise allows these soldiers to sharpen their skills with real-world and fictitious scenarios from conducting actual base security to reacting to a simulated enemy attack.
This type of training is necessary now more than ever, according to Col. Michael Peeters, brigade commander of the Operations Brigade, 91st Training Division out of Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif.
As the war in Afghanistan winds down, fewer combat support units are undergoing pre-deployment training. Training exercises like this provide the opportunity for these forces to keep their skill sets current, said Peeters.
“This is a capstone training event,” said Peeters, a native of Little Chute, Wis.
“Our sole objective is to make them better when they leave than when they came, so that when they leave, they are ready to deploy,” said Peeters.
Army officials have placed a great emphasis on this exercise, which is not only one of the largest exercises of its kind, but also prepares soldiers to support the total force, said Peeters.
A large portion of Army Reserve senior leadership traveled to Fort Hunter Liggett to observe the exercise in play.
Among those observing the exercise are observer controller/trainers (OC/T), who are observing, assessing, training and providing feedback to individual soldiers as well as leadership at multiple levels of command, explained Peeters.
The OC/Ts are observing how the units function to see if they are wartime ready, said Peeters, who explained that this feedback is a critical aspect of the exercise.
The exercise is planned and coordinated by the 91st Training Divisions (Operations) at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. CSTX gives participating units an opportunity to rehearse military maneuvers and tactics such as base security, convoy operations and battle reaction drills during simulated enemy attacks as well as apply their military occupational specialty skills in a theater of operations.
The exercise provides realistic training to units to successfully meet the challenges of an extended and integrated battlefield.