Capt. Bradley Anderson, commander of A Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), got the call early April 15 – his unit was selected and received orders to participate in a deployment readiness exercise, or DRE, with a deployment date of April 20 to Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The DRE is part of the U.S. Army’s program to exercise its ability to rapidly deploy units on short notice. The exercise affords participating units the training opportunity to test their pre-deployment standard operating procedures, but the exercise also tests the unit’s parent commands. A company’s brigade must ensure their unit is provided with all the necessary requirements for a successful mission as they go out the door.
“This pre-deployment process for this DRE has truly tested several components, from our Soldiers to the installation, everyone had a part in the mobilization of 160 Soldiers for this exercise,” Anderson said. “We have been fortunate enough to have noncommissioned officers and officers with previous deployment experience who have helped us be better prepared for the planning challenges we faced as we headed out the door and on to our flights to Fort Knox.”
The planning process for a DRE is a major component of the training aspect for the exercise.
The planning helps maintain a high degree of readiness for all participating components. Every aspect of a deployment is considered during this phase of a DRE. Movement and maneuver, sustainment and intelligence are just a few of the full array of warfighting functions that are challenged at every level.
The DRE provides a benchmark for units to use as a self-assessment for future deployments and helps maintain perishable skill sets.
“From my perspective, the DRE has been a great opportunity to see our readiness at a deeper level and exercise multiple systems across the battalion,” said Lt. Col. David G. Williams, battalion commander of 1-502nd Inf. Regt.
“We are seeing how difficult it can be to go from alert to wheels up on a rapid response mission, but our team has fought through the friction points and learned for future operations,” he said.
The soldiers of A Co, 1-502nd Inf. Regt., will be join 20th Chemical, Biological Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosives Command from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, for the duration of the exercise at Fort Knox with an anticipated return in early May.
‘Our soldiers are very excited to have been called on by the division and to be a part of this readiness exercise that will shape how the battalion manages systems in the future,” Williams said. “Overall, we have learned a lot and will develop our internal standard operating procedures that support the division and set conditions for future success.”