Army, Marines work together

9 May 2002 | Cpl. Zachary A. Crawford

Soldiers from the 82d Airborne and Marines from throughout II Marine Expeditionary Force gathered here May 9 to plan for the upcoming Millennium Challenge-02 exercise.

This year?s Millennium Challenge is a joint and integrated field exercise with an experiment tied into the training. The exercise helps leaders determine the ability of a joint force to conduct a rapid and decisive operation and improve joint operations for the future.

According to Lt. Col. Keith A. Rosdahl, Fires and Targeting, Future Operations section, II MEF, they are not only working on new equipment and procedures, but also on specialized techniques of warfighting.

The experimental part of the exercise concentrates on such issues as warfighting techniques, technology and weapons systems. Part of the experiment includes testing new equipment for both the Army and Marine Corps.

?This is not only an exercise in developing joint operations and new tactics, its also
giving us a chance to incorporate some of our new ?toys? and ideas,? said Maj. Erik L.
Christensen, Fixed Wing Standardization officer, Plans section, II Marine Aircraft Wing. ?In the scenarios, we are adding the use of the MV-22 Osprey and the brand new AH-1Z Cobra, a four-bladed attack helicopter (though they will not be physically involved). We are also incorporating a new computer system which will help us track the taking off, maneuvering and landing of all aircraft involved in the scenario. This includes the tracking of all of the services? aircraft as well.?

Besides the Corps? mock-testing the new aircraft, the Army is testing its own set of new equipment and ideas.

?We are testing some new concepts that we plan on putting into action by 2007,? said Capt. Todd F. Bzdatka, chief of exercises, Division Operations, 82d Airborne. ?We are working on the concepts of a new Comanche helicopter, a new Interim Brigade Combat Team, and a new digital command and control system.?

Bzdatka said this type of training has multiple benefits.

?One of the biggest things we?re looking to improve during this exercise is to see how well we work together, evaluate the exercise, and get all of the interoperability problems worked out so we can effectively operate together by 2007,? said Bzdatka. ?It is good to see how everybody works in a joint situation. We can study the capabilities of the different services during the evolution. Eventually, we?ll be comfortable enough so we?ll never have to shoot from the hip and, in turn, be able to jointly accomplish every mission that we?re given.?

Another one of the 82d?s soldiers said it?s really all about working together.

?Any opportunity we get to train with our sister services, we?ll jump all over it,? said Chief Warrant Officer-2 Robert R. Buck, targeting officer, Division Operations, 82d
Airborne. ?The ultimate goal here is to be able to deploy and fight as a joint force by