Activated on Oct. 3, 1982, at Fort Irwin, the Operations Group mission is an integral part of the overall mission at the National Training Center.
Its mission is to train Army combat units to a demanding standard using realistic scenarios to provide training feedback to Soldiers, leaders, and staff at every level, platoon to brigade, as well as a flow of information to units, agencies and training institutions to improve the force.
Operations Group provides more than 600 After Action Reviews every rotation. These contain valuable information that provides battle planning, preparation and execution feedback to the training units. The group is approximately 700 Soldiers strong and is broken down into several field Combat Trainer teams qualified in the doctrinal conduct of battalions and brigades in combat, combat support and combat service support operations.
Operations Group has modified rotational scenarios to keep pace with the changing world environment. Training units are now challenged with a significantly more complex battlefield that includes civilians, media, United Nations officials, host country representatives, guerrilla forces, provincial reconstruction teams, weapons of mass effects and war crimes. The goal of these complexities is to replicate for training units the actual conditions they would experience if deployed.
Operations Group has also modified scenarios to challenge the new digital systems employed by the Army’s modernized forces. These modifications include an increased presence of the opposing forces on the battlefield, larger space for battles and a simulation of the activities of notional adjacent friendly and enemy units. This simulation helps train leaders and staffs by ensuring that units with increased battlefield awareness capabilities “see” a large, complex battlefield on their computerized systems.
Operations Group has been awarded seven Army Superior Unit Awards for distinguishing itself by providing a rigorous and challenging combat training environment for rotational forces whether heavy, light, aviation or Reserve component units.
Operations Group continues to provide extremely challenging and rigorous training for leaders and Soldiers to prepare them to win on the 21st Century battlefield.
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment’s unique mission is vital to the readiness of our Army. The 11th ACR is the Army’s premier maneuver unit, and serves as the Contemporary Operating Environment Force at the NTC. The 11ACR provides Rotational training units the most capable and lethal combined arms opposing force in the world. The Blackhorse trains the Army, one unit at a time in the brutally harsh climate of the Mojave Desert. Consequently, the tough and uncompromising standards of the 11th ACR have become the yardstick against which the rest of the Army measures itself.
To accomplish their crucial Army training mission, the Regiment is organized with one armor squadron, one mechanized infantry squadron and a regimental support squadron. Ten times a year, the Regiment’s troopers provide Rotational units with the most accurate replication of conditions in theater possible, to prepare them for upcoming deployments.
Blackhorse Troopers simulate everything from town storekeepers to insurgent leaders, to give training units a true test of their lethal and non-lethal skills. Between these rotations, the Regiment’s troopers focus on individual and crew-level combat proficiency skills to keep current on Army Soldier and qualification tasks.
Congress activated the 11th U.S. Cavalry on Feb. 2, 1901, at Fort Myer, Va. Since then the Regiment has gallantly served our nation in such places as: the Philippine jungles in 1901; Cuba as part of Teddy Roosevelt’s army of pacification in 1905; Mexico with General John J. Pershing in 1916; California as a border regiment; World War II, as part of the XIII Corps, during its sweep from the Roer to the Rhine; Vietnam and Cambodia, from 1966 to 1971; Germany, from 1972 to 1989; the Persian Gulf; and most recently, Iraq.
It was in Mexico on May 5, 1916, that the 11th U.S. Cavalry, commanded by Maj. Robert L. Howze, led the last mounted cavalry charge in U.S. history against a band of Pancho Villa’s rebels. In the 1930s the Blackhorse again led the way by experimenting with the first mechanized cavalry vehicles—few cavalrymen welcomed this change.
On Sept. 7, 1966, the 11th ACR arrived in Vietnam. There the Regiment received its own distinctive patch, earned 14 battle streamers, and had three of its troopers awarded the Medal of Honor. In February 1971, the regiment was redeployed to the United States and deactivated; however, on May 7, 1972, the Regiment was again called upon to patrol the East-West German border along the Fulda Gap. On Nov. 9, 1989, without a shot fired, the regiment’s 17-year vigil along the Iron Curtain ended.
June 2004 saw the deployment of the 58th Combat Engineer Company (Red Devils), who serve under the 11th ACR. Their deployment took them to Baghdad with the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division in Baghdad to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On July 4, 2004, the Regiment itself received deployment orders for OIF. One month earlier the 2nd Squadron deployed in December 2004 to Babil Province, Iraq, to conduct support and stability operations with the 155th Mississippi National Guard. The 1st Squadron deployed in January 2005 to Baghdad. Over the course of the year they were attached to four different Brigade Combat Teams, conducting full-spectrum operations in the Baghdad area of operations. The Regimental Headquarters deployed to Mosul, Iraq, that same month and assumed duty as the division headquarters for Multi National Force North-West. The 11th ACR lost 20 Soldiers while serving in OIF.
916th Support Brigade
The 916th Support Brigade supports rotational Brigade Combat Teams with theater-level Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, Integration (RSOI) and Regeneration operations. It supports command and control of rotational Echelon Above Brigade sustainment units. In support of training, the 916th provides tactical aviation recon, attack, assault and lift. The 916th plans and executes rotary wing aviation operations for NTC headquarters and NTC units. The unit also provides trained and ready forces for worldwide contingency operations.
The commitment and professionalism of the Soldiers of the 1916th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, the General Support Aviation Battalion, Department of Defense civilians and civilian contractors, is clearly demonstrated with each rotation at the NTC. The entire Brigade continues to transform to meet changing doctrine and evolving FORSCOM guidance while continuing to provide responsive and proactive installation-level logistical support to the major subordinate commands and tenant activities of Fort Irwin.
12th Combat Training
The 12th Combat Training Squadron provides operational control and logistical support for units deployed to Air Combat Command’s GREEN FLAG-West exercises at the NTC. This USAF unit trains Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine and multi-national forces through 3,000 fighter, tanker and ISR aircraft sorties annually in combined air operations. The 12th CTS oversees planning, employment, instruction and feedback for deployed Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) and Weather units. The Squadron Commander is also the USAF liaison to the NTC commanding general and staff. The unit is comprised of eight officers and 23 enlisted personnel.
The Reserve Component Operations, Plans and Training (RC-OPT) office serves as the training liaison for all Reserve Component (RC) units from company to brigade level. RC-OPT provides operations, training, logistics and funding guidance to RC units training at the NTC and facilitates staff integration, coordination and information sharing between AC units and RC enablers supporting rotational units up to brigade-size elements. RC-OPT also serves as principal advisor to commanders on matters relating to Reserve Component utilization and policies.
Location: Building 988, Inner Loop Road
Telephone: (760) 380-2432
Reserve Component Operations,
Plans and Training
P.O Box 105009
Fort Irwin, CA 92310
The Joint Center of Excellence
In support of JIEDDO’s mission, the Joint Center of Excellence facilitates individual, collective and unit counter-IED (C-IED) training. JCOE enables the development and propagation of new operational techniques and tactical procedures and provides a venue for training and support for the experimentation and testing of emerging C-IED equipment and concepts.