Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The 82nd's jump into Poland is about more than testing out an all terrain vehicle.

via Military.com
Tuley's battalion will take off from Fort Bragg and rig in the air on the 10-hour flight on June 6, the anniversary of the World War II D-Day landings in Normandy and a hallowed date for the 82nd Division, which helped liberate France.
The troops will be dropping with about 10 of their MRZR all-terrain vehicles made by Minnesota-based Polaris Defense. (MRZR is not an acronym but simply a designator, said a Polaris spokeswoman.)
The four-seat MRZRs were still a "pilot program" for the 82nd but were intended to give the paratroopers more mobility once they hit the ground. "It's a little more robust" than commercial ATVs, Tuley said.
"These vehicles significantly enhance what would otherwise be foot mobility," Brig. Gen. Brian Winski, deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne, told Bloomberg News. "They change the dynamic and turn what would have been a three-mile per hour operation into a 50-mile per hour operation."
"Swift Response will demonstrate the allies' ability to respond to a crisis scenario from staging bases in both Europe and the U.S. within 18 hours of notification," the Army said in a statement.
The exercise, which will run from May 27 to June 26, will include more than 5,000 soldiers and airmen from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United States, and will take place in Poland and Germany.
On the jump into Poland, the 1st BCT troops will be joined by about 1,000 paratroopers from the British 16 Air Assault Brigade and the Polish 6th Airborne Brigade. At the same time, the Europe-based 173rd Airborne Brigade will deploy from staging bases in Germany to conduct airborne assaults onto training areas in northern Poland.
The second phase of Swift Response 16 will take place in Germany at the U.S. Army's Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas, and will include another Joint Forcible Entry airdrop.
The Marine Corps tribe should be paying close attention.  There is alot to unpack here so lets take it by the numbers....

1.  This exercise is about more than Russia, even if the defense media wants to focus on that.  This is about highlighting the 82nd's ability as a "Global Response Force".  This anniversary exercise is the Army's way of telling their paratroops to go up on a hill and beat the drum.  They can get anywhere fast, fight and win.

2.  They're testing out what Mike Sparks talked about so long ago.  Airborne Mechanization.  I find it funny.  He wanted to do it with M-113's and he was criticized from hell and back but now?  He's having the last laugh.  The primary weakness of airborne units?  They're strategically fast, but tactically slow.  They get to the fight at 500 mph by air but as soon as they hit ground they're foot slogging.  The MRZR's could change all that.

3.  This is another missed opportunity.  The 82nd and USMC MEUs are NATURAL brothers.  I have been pounding the table wondering why we aren't seeing exercises involving both formations here is another opportunity and its being wasted.

Swift Response this year looks to be as big or bigger than what we've seen in the past.  I look forward to watching it.

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