Field Training Exercise (FTX)
An Field Training Exercise (FTX) is high-cost, high-overhead exercise where the entire battalion and its supporting combat support and combat service support units deploys to field locations to conduct tactical operations under simulated combat conditions. While an FTX supports the training of the battalion staff, this form of training is rarely accomplished by a battalion-sized element due to today's resource constrained environment. Typically, the subordinate and supporting units of the battalion may participate in an FTX while the battalion headquarters and staff elements simultaneously participate in a CPX mode.
Thunder Gold - Brigade FTX
During the 2nd Bde FTX THUNDER GOLD from 22 Jan-1 February 1999, soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) successfully completed the largest air assault operation since Operation Desert Storm.
Warrior Peak - Brigade FTX
Warrior Peak was the main field training exercise for 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light) Fort Drum, NY in September 1997. Warrior Peak was a highly productive training exercise that focused on day and night platoon live fire exercises, and blank and live fire exercises in a Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) environment. Each battalion conducted an air assault operation to maintain the brigade's proficiency using army aircraft for tactical mobility.
Mega Gold - Division FTX
Mega Gold was the largest division-based war exercise in the Army, involving more than 12,000 soldiers. The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) MEGA GOLD Exercise and BN Eagle Flight IV from 10-23 May 1999 constituted the largest division-level training in the Army. Mega Gold is the ultimate war exercise at Fort Campbell, where every other year troops on the division level take to the field for two weeks of fighting.
During the exercise, which began on May 10 and continues through 23 May, soldiers were confronted with many scenarios: unfriendly civilians on the battlefield, ambushes, good reconnaissance, bad reconnaissance and poor climate conditions, among others. The Mega Gold scenario involves the mythical country of Shiloh, which has a North Shiloh and a South Shiloh, created from territory within the boundaries of Fort Campbell and the Wendell Ford Kentucky National Guard Training Center in Greenville, about 70 miles north of Fort Campbell. The North is friendly to Americans; the South is not.
The opposing forces were members of the First Brigade, while the Second Brigade were the Blue Forces. The fighting and kills are recorded through the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, known as MILES. Each weapon of the combatants is outfitted to fire a laser beam and blanks, so the noise of the battle is heard without risk of injury. The 500 Observer-Controllers from the Third Brigade record who has been shot and who was responsible.
Mountain Peak - Division FTX
In October and November 1997, the 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light) Fort Drum, NY supported the division's field training exercise (Mountain Peak) with opposing forces and observers/controllers.
1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light) Fort Drum, NY took two week block leave in July 1998, then spent August in the field focused on platoon and company operations with a division field training exercise, Mountain Peak, in late August 1998. This exercise evaluated all aspects of Task Force Warrior under simulated wartime conditions. This annual division exercise is a key ingredient in maintaining unit readiness training. Every resource on Fort Drum is committed for two weeks to provide the most realistic training event in peacetime, this includes observer/controllers, fire markers, and a dedicated opposing force. About 6,200 light fighters and support soldiers were involved in the exercise, which was designed to prepare a brigade task force for maneuvers at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La. 1st Brigade followed this exercise up in October with a rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center.
In June 2000, Kilo Company of Third Battalion, Sixth Marine Regiment was selected to be the "subject unit" of the Marine Warfighting Lab's MOUT ACTD Experiment. This included the test and evaluation of several new weapon sight systems during the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division Warrior Peak exercise held at Fort Drum, NY. During the early morning hours of the 13th of June, Kilo Company boarded trucks and executed a tactical convoy to MCAS Cherry Point. There the Company was processed and loaded onto waiting Marine KC-130s for the trip to Wheeler Sack Airfield in New York. This entire evolution exercised and tested the Battalion's ACM Alpha Increment Fly-away plans and procedures.
Once Kilo Company hit the deck in upstate New York, they immediately were transported to the field as part of a heliborne assault utilizing Army UH-60 Helicopters. Once in the "Box", the Company seized their initial objectives and began five days of patrolling. After the patrolling phase, the Company participated in a Battalion sized night movement which culminated in a MOUT Attack on Fort Drum's Combat Town. After ENDEX was sounded, Kilo Company's Key Leaders and Marines participated in debriefs to determine what they could improved upon in the future. They also provided valuable feed back on the performance of the experimental equipment. On the 23rd of June Kilo Company returned to Camp Lejeune and immediately departed on a well deserved 96 hour liberty pass.
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