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Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division team with Egyptian counterparts
By Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg, HQ, 42nd Infantry Division
Nov 12, 2007 - 2:10:52 PM
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LTC Hesham Rashdy (center), Chief of Intelligence for the Egyptian army’s 9th Armored Division, reviews battle plans with MAJ Mustafa Omra (at left), the Future Operations Officer and other members of his staff in the 42nd Infantry Division command post in Cairo on November 6 under the supervision of COL Carl Pfeiffer (bottom right), 42nd Infantry Division Chief of Staff. The Army National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division and Egyptian 9th Armored Division will combine staffs to jointly support a battle simulation exercise as part of Bright Star 2007. The training for the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Army Central leaders and staff during Bright Star fosters greater military to military relations with participating nations. U.S. Army photo by SFC Peter Towse (RELEASED)
CAIRO, EGYPT - Nearly 200 members of the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division headquarters, based in Troy, N.Y., will execute a large-scale command post exercise jointly with Egyptian army staff officers in Cairo as part of Bright Star 2007.

The division, comprised of National Guard Citizen Soldiers from across New York State, will team with members of the Egyptian army's 9th Armor Division command and staff to replicate a multinational senior headquarters during next week's battle simulation exercise.

The unit's nickname and distinctive shoulder insignia refer to an expression by the division's first chief of staff.  Then-colonel Douglas MacArthur described the formation of the 42nd Infantry Division in 1917 for service in World War I as it assembled from National Guard units from 26 different states and the District of Columbia "would stretch over the whole country like a rainbow."
 
The Bright Star deployment of the division headquarters staff and Special Troops Battalion Soldiers supports the biennial multi-national exercise that includes more than a dozen allied, coalition or partner nations in Egypt. 

"For more than 23 years, since 1983, the success of Bright Star demonstrates to enemies around the world, as well as allies, that we can deploy a division headquarters, deploy an army headquarters, conduct an airborne operation from halfway around the world, and insert an infantry company on the ground," said Lt. Gen. R. Steven Whitcomb, commander of the Third Army and U.S. Army Central (USARCENT), the 42nd Division's higher headquarters for the training exercise, "And you can interface and interact with conventional forces almost routinely."

This year's exercise will include a large-scale battle simulation exercise, meant to challenge senior leaders and staff in the command and control of combat forces operating jointly.

"All of us know that a command post exercise exerts pressure on the generals, colonels, lieutenant colonels and majors because it is a brain exercise," Whitcomb said to the combined American and Egyptian staff.  "So challenge each other, learn from each other."

The computer-generated battlefield is based on fictitious nations in conflict and a coalition of nations responding to restore security and an internationally recognized border.  The 42nd Infantry Division commander and staff will control a fictitious force of more than 110,000 troops for the command post exercise.

"There is no better expert on warfare in this maneuver box that we are conducting operations in than the Egyptians.  This is their territory, they know how to fight this fight and we ought to learn from them," Whitcomb said.

Nearly three dozen Egyptian officers from the Egyptian 9th Armored Division will complement the 42nd Division staff for the exercise.  Joint training began almost immediately after the division's deployment as members of the Egyptian staff learned about the Army's military decision-making process and techniques for the command and control of combat forces.

"We question each other and learn from each other," Whitcomb said, "and that is the real value of Bright Star."

The training in Egypt completes nearly a year of planning, training and coordination for the leaders and staff of the 42nd Division.  Soldiers trained with Third Army leaders and Egyptian training officers throughout 2007, including numerous site and staff visits, hosting the Egyptian and USARCENT leaders in New York in March.

"We came with a plan," said 42nd Division Chief of Staff Col. Carl Pfeiffer.  "We are here to demonstrate to the Egyptians that we are willing to work, partner and listen to them as we work through the (training) scenario."

"Our report card here is when our Egyptian partners write a letter to Lt. Gen. Whitcomb," Pfeiffer continued, "and tell him that they enjoyed working with the 42nd Infantry Division."

Many members of the 42nd Division deployed to Cairo are veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served with the headquarters in Tikrit, Iraq in 2005.  Much of the training sessions and mission planning involved applying lessons learned from that deployment to the control of thousands of troops in the simulated combat environment.

Part of the cooperative training included discussion and comparison of the two unit's capabilities and techniques for battle command.  The two division commanders, Maj. Gen. El Araby El Suray from the Egyptian 9th Armored Division and Brig. Gen. Paul Genereux from the 42nd Infantry Division both led discussions among the joint staff.

"This exercise is a good way to bring our Soldiers together," El Araby said.  "When we train like this, we'll know everything about each as well as we can."

"I can not be more pleased in the cooperative effort I'm seeing between our two staffs," Genereux said.  "My goals for this mission were to safely deploy our command post and train alongside the Egyptian 9th Armored, achieving real unity in our two organizations for the exercise.  Ninety percent of what I wanted to achieve in Bright Star, we have already done."

"They [the Egyptians] are taking our products to get synchronized with us," Pfeiffer said.  "That is unusual, but of all the units I've worked with in this part of the world, this unit [the Egyptian 9th Armored Division] is the best, by far."

The division was selected to support Bright Star 2007 immediately after its redeployment from Iraq.  While overseas, the division led a mixed task force of more than 23,000 Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard forces, including two active duty brigade combat teams. 

The deployment marked the first time a National Guard division headquarters led forces in a combat theater since the Korean War.  The division chief of staff credits the unit's successful operations commanding combat forces in Iraq as part of the rationale in the Army and Central Command's selection of the Rainbow Division for its role in Bright Star.

"We are, I believe, the National Guard division of choice," Pfeiffer said.

"It is great to have the 42nd Infantry back in theater again," noted Whitcomb in his remarks to the combined U.S. and Egyptian staff members.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

 
BG Stephen Hines, Deputy Commander of the Army National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division confers with Egyptian BG Sala Fouaad, Deputy Commander of the Egyptian 9th Armored Division. The two organizations will combine staffs to jointly support a battle simulation exercise as part of Bright Star 2007. The training for the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Army Central leaders and staff during Bright Star fosters greater military to military relations with participating nations. U.S. Army photo by SFC Peter Towse (RELEASED)
MG Paul Genereux (right), commander of the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division greets MG El Araby El Seruy, commander of the Egyptian 9th Armored Division for the multinational joint training exercise Bright Star 2007 at Cairo West Air Base in Egypt on November 6, 2007. The 42nd Infantry Division commander and his staff will embed members of MG Araby's staff during a combat simulation exercise as a multinational corps headquarters. The training for the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Army Central leaders and staff during Bright Star fosters greater military to military relations with participating nations. U.S. Army photo by LTC Richard Goldenberg (RELEASED)

BG Paul Genereux (left), commander of the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division poses a question to his Bright Star counterpart, Egyptian MG El Araby El Seruy (at right) regarding Egyptian doctrine and tactics for battle staff planning during Bright Star 2007 in Cairo, Egypt on November 8. Both US and Egyptian staff members will work jointly as part of the Bright Star command post exercise. El Araby's staff primaries LTC Hesham Roshdy, Chief of Intelligence (left) and LTC Ibrahim Twifck (right), Chief of Operations will partner with their 42nd Infantry Division counterparts to form the joint staff for the battle simulation exercise. The 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters is part of the N.Y. Army National Guard based in Troy, N.Y. US Army photo by LTC Richard Goldenberg (RELEASED)

LTG R. Steven Whitcomb, commander of the Third Army and U.S. Army Central arrives at the 42nd Infantry Division main command post in Cairo, Egypt November 8, 2007 with the 42nd Division Chief of Staff, COL Carl Pfeiffer. Whitcomb met with Soldiers and staff of the 42nd Infantry Division and their Egyptian counterparts from the Egyptian 9th Armored Division as part of Bright Star 2007. The two staffs will work jointly as part of the Bright Star battle simulation exercise. The 42nd Infantry Division is an Army National Guard combat division headquarters based in Troy, N.Y. US Army photo by LTC Richard Goldenberg (RELEASED)

LTG R. Steven Whitcomb, commander of the Third Army and U.S. Army Central, addresses the combined staff of the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division and Egyptian Army's 9th Armored Division during staff preparations for the Bright Star 2007 command post exercise in Cairo Egypt November 8. With Whitcomb is BG Paul Genereux, Division Commander for the 42nd (Rainbow) Division and members of the 9th Armored Division staff. The Egyptian and American soldiers will plan operations to support a battle simulation to better train both staffs and improve military to military relations. The 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters is part of the N.Y. Army National Guard based in Troy, N.Y. US Army photo by LTC Richard Goldenberg (RELEASED)

Brig. Gen. Paul Genereux, the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division Commander briefs his joint staff as MAJ Ehad Ahmed, the strategic plans officer from the Egyptian army's 9th Armored Division listens. Genereux reviewed the battle plan of the manuever forces during Bright Star 2007, a battle simulation exercise staged at the Cairo West Air Base November 9, 2007. Members of the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division staff partnered with counterparts from the Egyptian army's 9th Armored Division. US Army photo by SFC Peter K. Towse (RELEASED)

MAJ Matthew Tully, left, assistant operations officer from the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division, discusses the scheme of maneuver for the Bright Star command post exercise with the members of the division and their counterparts from the Egyptian army's 9th Armor Division. The two staffs will work together as part of the Bright Star 2007 battle simulation in Cairo. U.S. Army photo by SFC Peter Towse (RELEASED)

Brig. Gen. Paul Genereux, right, the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division Commander listens as his staff brief him on the battle plan of the manuever forces during Bright Star 2007, a battle simulation exercise staged at the Cairo West Air Base November 9, 2007. With Genereux is Maj. Gen. El Araby El Seruy, commander of the Egyptian army's 9th Armored Division. US Army photo by SFC Peter K. Towse (RELEASED)

Cpt. Dale Thurber, an assistant operations officer and the battle captain for the 42nd Infantry Division, explains tactical manuevers to his counterparts of the Egyptian army's 9th Armor Division battle staff as the two groups prepare jointly for Bright Star 2007, a battle simulation exercise staged at the Cairo West Air Base November 9, 2007. US Army photo by SFC Peter K. Towse (RELEASED)

Bringing the combat plan to life, Lt. Col. Ihab M. El-Melegy, a translator with the Egyptian army's 9th Armor Division describes in detail the actions of the manuever forces to the battle staff of the 42nd Infantry Division as the two groups prepare jointly for Bright Star 2007, a battle simulation exercise staged at the Cairo West Air Base November 9, 2007. US Army photo by SFC Peter K. Towse (RELEASED).


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