Prior to his soldiers arriving to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, La. to take part in a bilateral training exercise, Gen. Estevam Cals Theophilo, commander, Brazilian Army Land Operations Command, emphasized the importance of his troops being ready for the next conflict. Theophilo, along with Brig. Gen. Lynn Heng, U.S. Army South deputy commanding general, were able to see firsthand the Brazilian troops train in the area known as the “Box” during a visit to JRTC, Aug. 24-26 as part of a Distinguished Visitors Day. The Brazilian Army, or Exército Brasileiro (EB), participation in JRTC is the part of an agreed to activity which was included in a five-year plan developed between the EB and U.S. Army South during annual Army-to-Army Staff Talks.
“They’ve done an exceptional job of deliberate planning, conducting rehearsals and understanding the mission they have to accomplish and moving to that location to accomplish that mission,” said Maj. Micah Chapman, JRTC Operations Group Task Force 3 executive officer. “They’re really effective in terms of security – whether its short halts, long halts, securing themselves, securing an area and having an active mindset of understanding the situation and responding, when necessary, lethally.”
“Our mentality must be that are prepared to fight in combat. We can go a thousand years without war, but we can’t afford one second without being prepared to fight when war arises. This training for us is very important. We know this kind of exercise replicates fighting in true combat and the realness of this exercise prepares us to be ready.,” Theophilo said.
The Staff Talks Program promotes bilateral efforts in order to develop professional partnerships and increase interaction between partner nation armies. Having arrived at Louisiana in early August, a company element of the 5th Light Infantry Battalion (Air Mobile) integrated with the 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment (White Currahee), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) as part of rotation 22-09 to conduct tactical infantry operations, exercise interoperability, and strengthen their ability to plan and execute complex maneuver operations. The mission of the JRTC and Fort Polk is to train Brigade Combat Teams to conduct large scale combat operations on the decisive action battlefield against a near-peer threat with multi-domain capabilities. JRTC Rotation 22-09 was the second time a Brazilian Army unit came to the Combat Training Center (CTC) to train with a U.S. Army brigade.
Once on the ground, the Brazilian soldiers were praised for their professionalism, tactical skills and ability to embed with their U.S. Army counterparts. While training in the Box, the Brazilians were given after action reviews by the Observer-Controllers, where they were given feedback on what they planned to do, what actually happened, and engaged with the opposing forces to learn what they did well and what they could improve on. Although much attention during the bilateral training engagement was focused on kinetic and tactical operations at the company and platoon-level, a critical area the Brazilian Army wanted to improve was developing leaders at their combat training centers to be more realistic to train their soldiers for combat.
A small contingent, comprised of several officers and noncommissioned officers, embedded with the JRTC Operations Group and completed an abbreviated academy where they could capture and coach the best practices of combined arms maneuver. JRTC allowed the best environment for his soldiers to improve their capabilities and they will return to Brazil with much experience and become better trained to fight. Following three hours of continuous assault on the rough central-Louisiana terrain, Theophilo addressed the soldiers, where he commended their efforts and recognized the occasion of Dia do Soldado (Day of the Soldier) – a Brazilian national holiday on Aug. 25 commemorating the birthday of the Duke of Caxias, patron of the Brazilian Army.
In 1993, the Joint Readiness Training Center moved from Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, to Fort Polk, and once again, the post was called on to prepare soldiers for conflict. Each year, JRTC typically conducts several rotations for units about to deploy. During the 1990s, Fort Polk-based soldiers deployed to Haiti, Southwest Asia, Suriname, Panama, Bosnia, and other locations. The Joint Readiness Training Center is focused on improving unit readiness by providing highly realistic, stressful, joint and combined arms training across the full spectrum of conflict. The JRTC is one of the Army’s three “Dirt” Combat Training Centers resourced to train infantry brigade task forces and their subordinate elements in the Joint Contemporary Operational Environment.