SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Nearly a dozen Soldiers assigned to Delta Company, 715th Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater (MIB-T) provided support to 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 25th Infantry Division (ID) during its Validation Exercise (VALEX) Lightning Forge throughout various locations on the island of Oahu July 18-25.
Lightning Forge is an annual validation exercise conducted by 25th Infantry Division to maintain combat readiness.
During the training exercise, Delta Company used a range of equipment to provide increased terrestrial-based intelligence collection and increased interoperability between 500th MIB-T strategic assets and maneuver elements.
"This is our fourth iteration supporting Lightning Forge. We provided additional ground based intelligence collection for the maneuver unit," said Capt. John Petree, commander, Delta Company, 715th MI Battalion. "What we've done historically is basically act as an echelon above Corps, like a national asset that has been essentially tasked down to 25th Infantry Division to be used in support of the named operation that they are training against."
In addition to providing support to 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the Soldiers were able to train on key mission essential skills using multiple collection systems and meet Army readiness requirements as a unit.
"For us, a company, a battalion and a brigade, it validates our capabilities to support an IBCT," said Staff Sgt. Johnathan Bigelow, a signals intelligence analyst assigned to Delta Company, 715th MI Battalion. "While we were out there, we collected what we needed to collect and provided a lot of intelligence support to 25th ID."
Serving as the Survey and Collection Team (SCT), the Soldiers of Delta Company established an area of operation to conduct a real-world network validation. Once all of the communication networks and systems were established and operating accordingly, the SCT was set and ready to run 24-hour operations.
The Soldiers weren't aware of what kind of real-world scenarios they would face, but they were properly equipped and ready for whatever may come their way.
"Things happen, so when things go down, you have to learn how to fix it as soon as possible," said Sgt. Patricia Donaldson, a military intelligence systems maintainer/integrator assigned to Delta Company, 715th MI Battalion. "It was a big learning experience. In the event that we have to deploy, I'll be ready for any complications that comes later on down the road."