The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team are loading their vehicles on a cargo ship, but they are not coming home to Mississippi, they are preparing for Bright Star 2018. Bright Star 2018 is a multilateral U.S. Central Command training exercise, held with the Arab Republic of Egypt in Egypt and military officials say the exercise is about more than just training.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Albert L. First Jr. serves as an operations non-commissioned officer assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team with the Mississippi Army National Guard and said that Bright Star 18 is an opportunity to strengthen relationships with America’s Egyptian partners.
“It provides an opportunity for addressing relevant regional issues associated with enhancing regional security and cooperation, promoting coalition interoperability in irregular and conventional warfare, and improving interoperability throughout the full range of military operations,” said First. “The exercise also provides our military the opportunity to maintain and improve proficiency while strengthening relationships and interoperability with our Egyptian partners.”
First added that a large part of the training was gained in the mission’s planning.
“The planning phase for Bright Star 18 is a huge undertaking requiring indebtedness for multilevel coordination for both U.S. and Egyptian counterparts,” First said. “Joint planning provided a unique opportunity to share insight on administrative, logistical, and tactical strategies while developing cohesion and relationship building.”
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan B. Brittingham is a mobility officer assigned to the 840th Transportation Battalion of the 595th Transportation Brigade said that one facet of the exercise’s planning is transportation to and from the exercise.
“The time frame dictates on how much planning we go through,” said Brittingham. “We usually like to plan 45-60 days out from the actual movement date.”
He added that the lengthiness of planning helps the mission go smoother.
“[We plan like this so] when we are going back and forth with the customer on what [the] cargo is and where it is going, we can clear out any mistakes or errors that could hinder the transportation process”, said Brittingham.
With a large scale event like BS18, planning needs evolve as the event approaches.
“You’ve got to know what you need to for the unit to be able to operate and to accomplish the mission on the exercise,” said“Something like that will continue to change all the way until time to get on the vessel,” he said.
All the planning for Bright Star 18 not only provides a smooth transition, it also has other benefits.
“An exercise like this helps you use your skill sets across the brigade, it also helps us get ready and stay ready for an actual real-world deployment,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Lee D. Stringer, a transportation management coordinator assigned to Headquarters Company, 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team. “Any time you use your equipment, you use your people, you use different systems, [you] always keep your readiness available.”
The 155th didn’t load the barge alone, it also took the help of a reserve unit out of Maryland, the 1398th Transportation Battalion.