Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Aviation troops execute Operation Cornerstone

By Sgt. Ashton Empty | 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Combat readiness comes in all forms to support the overall mission. There are many essential parts when it comes to accomplishing goals and fulfilling the commander’s intent.

The Soldiers with 404th Aviation Support Battalion, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, wrapped up Operation Cornerstone, a field exercise at Fort Carson designed to train personnel on sustainment operations and demonstrate the battalion’s support capabilities.

Every structure must possess a strong basis and supporting aspects to prevent it from toppling over or caving in.

“(Soldiers with) 404th ASB (have) a unique role to the overall brigade,” said Capt. David Repsold, battalion operations, 404th ASB, 4th CAB. “We serve as the foundation and support for all the battalions and brigade as a whole.”

As a support battalion, the unit prioritizes teaching its Soldiers to be technically proficient and efficient when carrying out sustainment missions and tasks.

“We are here to enhance our platoon-level proficiency to support company adjacent missions,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jon Trawick, senior enlisted adviser, 404th ASB, 4th CAB. “All the while, sharpening our field craft and teaching our Soldiers how to live in an austere environment.”

The weeklong field training exercise consisted of many training opportunities such as setting up convoy lanes, base defense, support logistic operations to neighboring units, drivers training, medical patient transfer, mass casualty and more.

The unit took a crawl-walk-run phased approach to the field exercise to enable the teams to make tremendous improvements throughout the phases.

“We developed each coming day that we were out here, ultimately being able to efficiently accomplish over 90% of our mission essential task lists,” Repsold said.

The typical day would start with a very early morning “stand-to,” where Soldiers would take up defensive positions surrounding and guarding the perimeter of the base.

After establishing an “all-clear,” it led to breakfast served hot, prepared by the field cooks.

“The mornings and days were cold, so we wanted to make sure our Soldiers started the day with a warm meal,” said Trawick. “(We wanted them to have) something more to look forward to when waking up — not just having to wake up and (eat) something out of a packet.”

After morning chow, Soldiers jumped into the daily training, most notably forward arming and refueling operations (FARP) as well as downed aircraft recovery teams (DART).

The FARP and DART missions are essential training for a support unit within an aviation brigade. If an aircraft goes down and needs support, the training is vital to mission success.

“The better we are at our job, the better we are able to facilitate support to the other 4th CAB units,” said Repsold.

Operation Cornerstone helped the battalion establish its capabilities and a clear understanding of expectations.

While mission accomplishment is a priority for the field training exercise, the essential factor for the unit is the people who serve.

“Our focus is not just the success of the mission and unit, but also the success of every single individual Soldier,” said Trawick.

Aviation troops execute Operation Cornerstone
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