SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Leaders from across the New York Army National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team focused on preparing Soldiers for deployment, developing leaders, and building esprit de corps during drill weekend Feb. 26-27.
The officers and senior noncommissioned officers spent the first day planning deployments to Africa and the Middle East. The second day used the lessons of the brigade’s history, when it was the 27th Infantry Division, to discuss the Army’s new operational doctrines.
The event coincided with a celebration of the 124th birthday of the 27th Infantry Division.
Officers and senior noncommissioned officers from the 27th’s company through brigade levels spent an entire day planning premobilization training. The training this summer at Fort Drum will validate units’ combat skills at the squad, platoon and company levels before additional training at mobilization stations, followed by deployment overseas.
The brigade is sending more than 1,000 Soldiers from the New York City-based 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, and other units across the state to conduct security missions in the horn of Africa. It represents one of the largest overseas deployments for the New York National Guard in the last decade.
Additionally, Soldiers from the 27th’s Massachusetts-based 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, will head to the Middle East to support Operation Spartan Shield.
“Our commitment here in the 27th Brigade, the 42nd Infantry Division, and the New York Army National Guard to our families is that we will do everything within our power to train aggressively and train well,” said Col. Sean Flynn, commander of the 27th IBCT.
The following day focused on teaching the Army’s emerging operational concept of multidomain operations, in which land, sea, air, space and cyberspace capabilities are employed simultaneously, rapidly and continuously against an enemy.
“We’re attempting to put [multidomain operations] into a historical perspective by looking at the Battle for Saipan in [June] 1944 in the Pacific [theater] of World War II,” said Lt. Col. Marshall Hunt, the 27th’s executive officer.
After learning how their predecessors in the 27th Infantry Division conducted the battle, the brigade’s staff, infantry, field artillery, engineer, support battalions, and cavalry squadron discussed how they would conduct the operation today.
“We have to think about fighting in an environment where our enemy has every advantage that we do,“ Flynn said. “In some cases, they may have more advantages than we do. We have to change that mindset.”
Flynn said 27th IBCT leaders have long studied World War II operations in the Pacific. The campaign on Saipan offers an excellent context for understanding the maneuver warfighting function.
“The fact that there’s three divisions maneuvering with air and sea support makes it a very good operation to use to visualize, to practice and, of course, since it’s our own heritage, it’s good to know what our grandfathers did and, in some cases, our great-grandfathers,” Flynn said.
After a day spent in combat uniforms, the group wore dress blues for a formal dinner dedicated to building camaraderie and esprit de corps.
“I ask every Soldier to reflect on the Army values – how they impact you from a national level to you as an individual Soldier, because it takes all of us to show our country that we are honorable and should have their confidence that we will do the right thing when faced with a difficult decision or action,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas Spencer, commander of the 42nd Infantry Division.
The 42nd Infantry Division is the 27th brigade’s higher headquarters.
The weekend concluded with officers and NCOs discussing best practices in developing Soldiers and their careers.
There was also a panel discussion about balancing careers in the National Guard with civilian work and family life, with Spencer, Brig. Gen. Jack James, 42nd Infantry Division deputy commander for operations, and Brig. Gen. Joseph Biehler, commander of the 53rd Troop Command, sharing their experiences.
“It was really interesting to see how leaders get together and how generals see the big picture and the overall mission of the National Guard,” said 1st Sgt. Alexander Gomez, the senior NCO officer for Fox Company, 427th Brigade Support Battalion.
“It boils down to how we’re going to take all this training and all this mentorship back to our junior Soldiers and NCOs to make them better. I feel that this makes me better, stronger, and a better leader for the future.”