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Home : News
NEWS | Sept. 15, 2020

40th ID conducts joint ops in Pacific from San Luis Obispo

By Lt. Col. Christopher L. Elson California National Guard

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Soldiers with the California Army National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division constructed a command post at Camp San Luis Obispo at the end of August to support U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) joint operations across the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Theater.

From Cal Guard’s post in the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo, the Division is demonstrating a key capability of a command post exercise (CPX): command and control of multiple operations across a large, diverse area of responsibility. This is one component of Defender Pacific 20, a joint exercise.

“The Sunburst Division’s talented Soldiers are once again demonstrating their ability to provide mission command in integrate operating environments,” said Maj. Gen. Laura L. Yeager, commanding general of the 40th ID.

The division, while supporting California with wildland firefighting efforts and COVID-19 response, has conducted joint planning with America’s First Corps and USARPAC over the past few months.

Joint Marine and Air Guard planners were also brought in as part of the California team. Planning for Defender Pacific 20 included communication and collaboration with forces in Guam, Palau, Hawaii, Washington, Alaska, and other areas throughout the Pacific.

“The collaboration demonstrated during this joint exercise demonstrates our readiness,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Trevor Phillips, the operations officer for Cal Guard’s 40th ID. He said planning and communicating with forces throughout the Pacific is an incredible demonstration of Guard capabilities.

“The Sunburst Division will be a part of all future Army operations in the Pacific. Continuing the long and honorable lineage from World War II and The Korean conflict, the 40th Infantry Division will always be ready and always be there,” Phillips said.

USARPAC, acting as the Joint Task Force (JTF) Headquarters, led this CPX. The CPX is just one component of Defender Pacific 20, a joint exercise that demonstrates strategic readiness by deploying combat credible forces across the theater, contributing to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“Defender Pacific also builds total Army readiness through the participation of United States Army Reserve and National Guard forces,“ said Yeager. “The scope and complexity of this exercise, combined with the vast distances we must span to conduct command and control, allows us to learn valuable lessons and be better in times of crisis.“

All participating forces have implemented strict protective health measures to train safely during COVID-19.

The division works closely with Camp San Luis Obispo base operations and the California Military Department to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19 through 100% testing, social distancing, mandatory masking, and quarantine measures.

“Over the last year, the 40ID excelled during the Yama Sakura exercise in Japan, Warfighter 20-03 at Joint Base Lewis McChord, and statewide activations for wildland fires and civil disturbances,” said Yeager. “Their sustained superior performance is a testament to their professionalism and dedication to duty.”