CAMP HENRY, South Korea – After a hiatus of more than three years, Army Reserve augmentees supplemented the 403rd Army Field Support Brigade during a joint training exercise March 13-24.
The augmentees were on hand for Exercise Freedom Shield 23, a defense-oriented field training exercise which integrated live exercises with constructive simulations. The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the United States and Republic of Korea Ironclad Alliance, enhance our combined defense posture, and strengthen security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
“In order to ‘train as we fight,’ it is imperative that the 403rd AFSB gets augmented to execute its mission during contingency and/or disaster relief,” said Neftali Santiago, training & exercise officer, S-3 (Operations). “The integration of augmentees is one of the key tasks ensuring the brigade can operate on a 24-hour basis. Augmentees provide the additional support enabling the brigade to operate more efficiently.”
Exercises on the Korean Peninsula have been scaled back over the past couple of years due to the COVID pandemic. With COVID on the wane, joint Republic of Korea and United States exercises are back on the uptick.
“The exercise was a great experience and went really well. It is always beneficial when Reservists are afforded the opportunity to participate in real-world training exercises with our active-duty counterparts,” said Lt. Col. Jack Eagly, G4 logistics officer, Army Reserve Sustainment Command, Birmingham, Ala., who served as S3 chief of operations during the exercise. “It was an eye-opening experience that we can all share with our parent organization and fellow Soldiers in hopes to continue fostering relationships and increase the Reserves’ readiness posture and ability to plug and play in the event we are called upon to execute any mission set. We learned the importance sharing institutional knowledge, teamwork, and that relying on each other to execute as one in the absence of others to fill all knowledge gaps are essential keys to success.”
The 26 augmentees came from several U.S.-based units, including Headquarters & Headquarters Company, Army Reserve Sustainment Command; Army Sustainment Command – Army Reserve Element; Defense Contract Management Agency – ARE; Army Materiel Command – ARE; LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) Support Brigade; and the 412th Theater Engineer Command.
“Things went very well. I enjoyed my time here immensely. I was immediately welcomed and felt like part of the team,” said Staff Sgt. Adeline Prince from the 2nd LOGCAP Support Battalion, who served as an S-4 Logistics augmentee. “I learned a lot about the logistics field, especially how uniquely those systems apply here on the peninsula. The main thing was being able to see firsthand our support to the [Republic of Korea] and to the Korean people.”
In addition to the exercise, augmentees had the opportunity to participate in a hike with 403rd AFSB leaders and staff to Hill 303 near Waegwan, where 41 Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division were captured, and subsequently murdered, in an atrocity known as the Hill 303 Massacre in the early days of the Korean War. The group also visited the Chilgok Patriots & Peace Memorial Museum that highlights the ferocious fighting that took place in the region during the early phase of the Korean War and pays tribute to the victims of the Hill 303 massacre.
The exercise concluded with an awards ceremony in which augmentees were recognized for their performance.
“The exercise was a resounding success for the 403rd AFSB. Our Army Reserve partners significantly enhanced our operations during Freedom Shield 2023,” said Edgar Tuttle, chief, S-3 Operations, 403rd AFSB. “The Army Reserve augmentees brought a level of professionalism, depth and breadth of logistics operations knowledge and skills, and enthusiasm to perform optimally throughout the Freedom Shield 2023 exercise, which paid immeasurable dividends to the 403rd AFSB and our enterprise partners.”
To view and download more photos of the awards ceremony and hike (as well as other brigade events), go to the 403rd AFSB Flickr page at: