New 2nd Infantry Division staff welcomed with a battle simulation
May 22, 2007
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Think learning a new job is tough? Try doing it while hundreds of thousands of enemy soldiers are attacking.
The 2nd Infantry Division’s staff officers worked their way through a simulated war and taught the newcomers during the first 1½ days of the Warpath 0 exercise last week. The incoming officers took over for the final day and a half.
“It’s very rare that we get a true staff exercise these days because the turnover is so short,” said Maj. John Petracca, outgoing 2nd ID chief of current operations.
Turnover is a big reason why Maj. Gen. James Coggin, 2nd ID’s commander, and Chief of Staff Col. Michael Feil set up the exercise. Every summer, about half of 2nd ID’s key leaders finish their one-year tours, officials said.
The attack simulation was scripted and based on last year’s Warfighter simulation. But while Warfighter primarily was a battle exercise, the Warpath 0 staff exercise concentrates more on teaching and learning the division’s standard procedures.
The incoming 2nd ID chief of staff and others have traveled to South Korea on temporary deployment to participate in the exercise.
The familiar script allows outgoing officers to concentrate on instruction and critique, instead of an interactive opposing force, Petracca said.
Because of the script, Warpath 0 needs only seven supporting soldiers at the operations center, called Division Main. Between 200 and 300 soldiers were needed to support the Warfighter battle simulation’s Division Main, officials said.
That means Warpath 0 has little impact on lower units while allowing division staff to focus on the exercise, said Lt. Col. Joseph Wawro, incoming operations chief and outgoing 4th Battalion, 7th Cavalry commander.
The view at division level is a change in perspective for officers like Wawro and Maj. Matt Tolle, the 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry’s executive officer who is taking over Petracca’s division job.
“Instead of using a small brush, you’re painting a wall with a spray gun,” Tolle said.
The division’s job is more about making sure that the overall goal is moving in the right direction, Petracca added.
“When it comes to management of the close fight, we don’t micromanage,” he said. “We provide the resources to help them win that battle easily.”