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Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers master skills during Demon Focus

By Sgt. Jarrett E. Allen | 1ST CAB PUBLIC AFFAIRS | September 22, 2017

     Soldiers of the “Demon” brigade transitioned from Victory Week, where lots of friendly competition took place in various sporting events, to a full-on combat training exercise known as Demon Focus that started Sept. 5 and ends Sept. 27.

    Maj. Chad A. Monroe, operations officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, said Demon Focus is a combination of two exercise evaluations with units at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colorado. The brigade headquarters is conducting command and control of units in different locations and a command post exercise as they monitor and battle track the exercise evaluations and field training exercises of the brigade’s subordinate units.

     Monroe said the purpose of the event is to establish the brigade’s main command post and help Soldiers master their mission-essential tasks. The exercise is also to prepare for the warfighter command post exercise this winter.

      Monroe said he feels the training event is going well.

    “The exercise is going very well,” Monroe said. “I am always impressed with Soldiers’ and leaders’ abilities to take the guidance that we provide, mission orders and commander’s intent, and run with it to create and execute a great training event.”

     Monroe said they are trying to mimic here what they will do in future operations anywhere around the globe. He said their goal is to be ready now and their division is prepared to do just that.

     “Readiness is our priority, so we are getting after it so we can execute distributed mission command across time and space and the brigade headquarters can provide command and control regardless of where our subordinate units are geographically,” Monroe said.

     Staff Sgt. Oscar S. Lopez, operations platoon sergeant with HHC, 1st CAB, said he also feels things are going well. He said a lot of their Soldiers are brand new and have never been involved in this sort of training before. They have never put up a tactical operations command post or had to move one, but they are learning quickly and performing well, Lopez said.

     “The Soldiers are performing great, in my opinion,” Lopez said. “There’s a lot of collaboration between the different shops and everybody’s morale is up and everybody’s learning new things.”

     Lopez said they are rotating roles so Soldiers can understand what everyone’s functions are within the tactical operations command post. That way they get an understanding of taking control of the battle tracking portion.

     Pvt. Steven E. Joanis, also with HHC, 1st CAB, is an air traffic controller, but said he is rotating between flight tracking and radio-telephone operator. He said he feels it’s a great help in preparing him for future missions.

     Joanis said keeping track of what is going on with the aircraft allows for greater flexibility when leaders need to make adjustments.

     He said Lopez has been the biggest help.

     “He told me not to stress it; I’m only going to grow from it,” Joanis said. “You’re going to make mistakes and you’re only going to get better, which has been great advice.”