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572nd BEB conducts first tactical operations exercise as a battalion

By Spc. Avery Cunningham | 172nd Public Affairs Detachment | June 7, 2017

FORT DRUM, N.Y. — The newly reconstituted 572nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Vermont National Guard, participated in a brigade Warfighter exercise at Fort Drum, New York, June 3-18. The Warfighter serves as a good starting point for the new battalion and allows them to work with their attachments and units, like Echo Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, and new additions from outside the state like Charlie Company from Connecticut and Delta Company from Colorado..

“The battalion stood-up officially in September of 2016, so this is the first time we as a brigade engineer battalion will be coming together as a whole from three different states to operate in a tactical exercise,” said U.S. Army Capt. Patrick Enriquez, commander, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 572nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, Vermont National Guard.

The exercise gives the unit the chance to assess their systems and strengths, establish procedures, and work together with all of its subordinate companies for the first time.

“We are part of the brigade Warfighter exercise for 2017 as part of our ARFORGEN (Army Force Generation) cycle training,” said Enriquez. “Our battalion is one of the subordinate battalions to the 86th brigade and we are exercising our mission command nodes and our staff analysis for our contribution to the brigade operation.”

Moving forward, the battalion needs to ensure that they can operate smoothly with the brigade and verify their communication systems.

“We do our validations, and we make sure that we can conduct operations as the engineer asset for the brigade and align with the infantry, the [cavalry], and the [brigade support battalion] so that the brigade can function as a whole,” said Staff Sgt. Amber Braun, HHC, 572nd BEB, 86th IBCT (MTN).

The purpose of the validations is to integrate the unit with other battalions, and allow it to bring together all of the 572nd BEB Soldiers to synchronize tactics, techniques, and standard operating procedures.

“We only get to see each other once or twice a year as a whole battalion, but when we come together for these big tactical exercises like the Warfighter it’s a lot easier to communicate and we get to do the face-to-face relationship building we want with our subordinate companies,” said Enriquez.

The brigade engineer battalion has companies with varied levels of experience and different jobs to support the brigade. As the battalion reorganized and added new units, its mission evolved. For the staff of the battalion, there is a lot of new information and changes they must face as they familiarize themselves.

“We’re trying to figure out what our mission is and how we’re going to fit into the brigade,” said Braun. “We have good leadership that’s giving us that information so that we know our mission and what we need to do, but it’s a little hectic trying to get in here being so new.”

As the battalion defines its role in the 86th IBCT, they also determine how to support the brigade and their own companies with various assets that now fall under the 572nd. This training is an opportunity for them to work through all these details in a simulated environment with no consequences.

“Balancing the needs of the brigade, our battalion, and the companies is one of those significant challenges we have to overcome,” said Enriquez. “But this is an opportunity for us to make mistakes, learn where our deficiencies are now, and build towards improving those.”