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By Army Staff Sgt. Tina Villalobos
Task Force Spartan
Bush explained that with the 35th Inf. Div. taking on the mission of division headquarters, U.S. Army Central command (USARCENT) has an opportunity to continue to enhance its role as a service component command.
Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett, commanding general, U.S. Army Central command (USARCENT) agreed.
“If you came over here thinking that you were going to be fighting ISIS, you really had to change your mindset,” said Bush. “We’re not directly fighting ISIS, but by building the most capable force, we’re creating a deterrent that enables American forces to defeat ISIS. In many respects this deployment bridged that gap between being deployed in support of combat operations, while performing the normal Title 10 missions of an active duty Army.”
"Our unique perspectives lend incredible strength to the mission and to the force..."
Given their diversity of education, experience, and skillsets, soldiers throughout the division had an opportunity to influence positive outcomes, according to Bush.
“We have soldiers with a great diversity of professional experience and education,” said Bush. “Our unique perspectives lend incredible strength to the mission and to the force as a whole. I think it is among the ways that we bring strength, and it really enables us look at things in a different way.”
Although the Division performed some behind the scenes functions, Bush explained the importance of those roles.
“That tank crew is there because an S-1 [personnel section] is ensuring that they are manned; that they’re resourced; that everyone has the correct entitlements,” said Bush. “Without the S-1, when push comes to shove and we really need them, the tank crew wouldn’t be manned, educated, resourced, evaluated, they wouldn’t be awarded or getting paid. So the S-1 shop behind the scenes really makes that tank crew effective. Those Soldiers that respond to our orders are part of us—even if they were not wearing our patch, whether they’re National Guard, Army Reserve, or active duty Army, we were still responsible for them—and that is a very sacred responsibility that the 35th Infantry Division executed.”
In addition to administrative responsibilities, these troops enhanced interoperability through the execution of multiple exercises and operations in conjunction with partner nations, as well as training with partner nations, and interacting with host nation communities.
Operations and joint trainings of the 35th Inf. Div. under Task Force Spartan included: Operation Angel Strike, Operation Diamond Torrent, Iron Union 18-6, and several other joint training interaction opportunities, such as a U.S. and KLF joint medical training with doctors and nurses from each nation; a legal luncheon for U.S. military attorneys and Kuwait Armed Forces Military Justice Authority attorneys to discuss legal cooperation between the two countries and building a lasting partnership for the future.
Soldiers of the 35th Inf. Div. exemplified the motto that ‘every soldier is an ambassador’ through community engagements such as Women in Science and Technology, a Kuwaiti Book Fair, participation in Discover America Week, a joint barbeque with Kuwaiti Land Forces, as well as a beach clean-up endeavor with Kuwait and U.S. Navy forces.
"The Army would long ago have failed as an institution without the contributions of the Total Army..."
Garrett appreciated the contributions and high standards set by the 35th Inf. Div.
“We need our reserve components—that’s the absolute truth,” said Garrett. “The Army would long ago have failed as an institution without the contributions of the Total Army, which includes our National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers. The Soldiers of the 35th Infantry Division took on this mission with great enthusiasm and executed it successfully and above expectations in every way. This type of mission had never been assigned to a National Guard division before, but these soldiers lived up to the reputation of their storied past. They were once known as “The Infantry Spearhead” of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army, and they spearheaded this new responsibility efficiently, effectively, and professionally.”
Approximately 40 percent of the units deployed throughout the Central Command area of responsibility are National Guard and Reserve Soldiers.
“We remain indebted to the National Guard Bureau, the director of the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve command for all they have done to ensure we can continue this important mission here in the CENTCOM area of responsibility,” said Garrett.
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION