By Spc. Ashton Empty | 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Amid the chaos of prepping for a National Training Center (NTC) rotation, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, received an order to execute an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (EDRE).
With a tight timeframe, a worldwide pandemic and an already busy schedule preparing to move out to NTC, 1st SBCT was kept on its toes as the order for an EDRE commenced.
An EDRE is a three-phase operation: Phase I is alert and prepare, Phase II is deployment of equipment and Phase III is deployment of personnel.
The exercise began with the alert notification of the order.
“I found out two hours before the entire formation did,” said Col. Ike Sallee, commander, 1st SBCT. “Yes, there was no notice, but one of the priorities here at the ‘Ivy’ Division is to always be ready to go anywhere at any time.”
Soldiers with 1st SBCT, as well as civilians employed at Fort Carson, worked long hours to make sure the EDRE was successfully completed.
Troops began packing and preparing by going through the standard deployment motions, such as attending weapons ranges, packing their gear and verifying paperwork.
The exercise then moved on to the next phase: deployment of equipment.
The 1st SBCT worked countless hours to make sure all vehicles and containers were accounted for and ready to depart from the post.
“Our leadership has done a great job,” said 1st Lt. Dante Jordan, a chemical officer with 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st SBCT. “They have been able to balance realistic expectations versus the mission we have to accomplish, which has helped to guide us along.”
The brigade leadership worked alongside juniors, peers and civilians to ensure operations went smoothly.
“It has been a learning experience for a lot of people, myself included,” Jordan said. “Especially having to work alongside outside organizations like civilians.”
The final phase of the exercise was the deployment of personnel.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there have been several restrictions on Soldier movement as well as a slight change to the standard uniform.
“We have adapted to COVID-19 over time and we continue to train each day.” said Maj. Gen. Matthew W. McFarlane, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson. “The safety and protection of our community and Soldiers are the top priorities.”
With this phase came the Soldier readiness process, COVID-19 testing and pre-deployment quarantining.
Every Soldier completed the SRP process which included hearing, vision, vitals and labs. After the SRP process was complete, the Soldiers entered a 96-hour quarantine period followed by a mandatory COVID-19 test prior to boarding buses bound for the National Training Center.
The completion of that as well as the previous phases concluded the EDRE and the start of Soldiers’ departure to NTC.
“When we go through something, we learn from it and apply it,” Sallee said. “This exercise has shown some reality as to what we are really getting into. It also taught us exactly why always remaining ready is so important.”