NEWS | Jan. 31, 2019

U.S., Oman partner for Inferno Creek 19

By Sgt. Linsey Williams Task Force Spartan

Just 80 kilometers from where the waves of the Indian Ocean crash onto the shore is a rocky desert outpost in Rabkoot, Oman. For a few weeks annually, U.S. and Omani Soldiers train there, side-by-side, gaining shared understanding of each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures. Exercise Inferno Creek 19 is one exercise of many taking place in Southwest Asia designed to strengthen defense relationships and build partner capacity.

Task Force Spartan, a multi-component organization that supports operations in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, regularly participates in exercises with partner nations in the region. In the last year alone, Task Force Spartan Soldiers have worked with troops from the Gulf Coast countries of Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Egypt and others. They are currently focused on training with their Omani partners.

“This is the eighth month of our deployment. We’ve been able to train with our Jordanian partners, local partner forces in Syria as well as the Kuwaiti Land Forces,” said U.S. Army Capt. Charles Woods, commander of Mississippi National Guard’s Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 198th Armored Regiment, 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team. “For our guys, it’s a great opportunity to see how the Omanis work differently than other countries.”

Back in the offices of Thumrait Air Base, battalion staff from both armies coordinate military decision-making processes and design the training plan that will lead to a culminating live-fire exercise. Junior Soldiers participating in the exercise continue to build cohesion and readiness by spending hours at the range firing their weapons and performing dismounted maneuvers at the company level and below.

“For this mission we just ran, we were the support by fire element,” Spc. William McBride explained after a live assault run-through. “It was a blast. We ran two gun teams: an Omani team and an American team. We worked really well together; when we [ran out of] ammo, we were able to use some of their rounds, and it just worked beautifully.”

Exercises like Inferno Creek enhance military readiness in the region, increasing responsiveness and building strong and productive relationships with partners and Allies.

“I think it’s important that we’re ambassadors for the U.S. and that they know they can work with Soldiers,” Woods said, speaking of the Omani troops. “That we’re approachable; that they know some of our [tactics, techniques and procedures]; how we operate and that they’re comfortable if they ever need to work with us in the future. Either in a bilateral exercise, a multilateral exercise or in combat —that they’d be doing that [alongside] us.”

Now, under command and control of the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan and U.S. CENTCOM continue the momentum of the past year, further collaborating on plans for more multi-lateral exercises in the region.

“Being able to have that experience under our belt is going to help us further down the road if we deploy,” said McBride. “We’ll know how to handle language barriers and working with a different culture and be able to slip into that role a little more smoothly than we would otherwise.”

Exercise Inferno Creek 19 is a recurring exercise designed to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. military and the Royal Army of Oman. It is an opportunity for both countries to build tactical proficiency in critical mission areas, to gain shared understanding and to support long-term regional stability.