Operation Sand Castle 2008: Taking It to the Next Level and Beyond
ARMY ENGINEER SCHOOL FORT LEONARD WOOD MO
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The sun rises over Forward Operating Base FOB Santa Fe, located in The Box at the National Training Center NTC, Fort Irwin, California, for another rotation of Operation Sand Castle, where the 412th Engineer Command serves as the action agent for the United States Army Reserve Command s current Army Force Generation exercise. A unique feature of this exercise is the requirement that the Active Army brigade combat team BCT and the Army Reserve brigade coexist in the same operational environment as they would in-theater. Each component has to adapt to the other, thus creating a mutually supporting relationship that yields an overall stronger fighting force. However, the training that occurs between the two components is just the beginning. In addition to training individual Soldiers, Operation Sand Castle gives the Army a chance to exercise its newest operational structure. The 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade MEB from Fort Lewis, Washington, and the 210th Regional Support Group RSG from Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, are two new structures in the Army. This year s operation focused on emerging MEB and RSG doctrine and the dynamics that take place between the senior-level commands within a BCT s operational environment, executing full spectrum counterinsurgency operations. NTC provides the opportunity to test these structures as new doctrine is still being developed. The 301st MEB and 210th RSG catapulted the exercise to the next level by planning, coordinating, and executing a robust training plan which, coupled with the desert environment and the NTC rotational scenario, resulted in conditions that resemble those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics