Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), moved out to the field environment of Fort Campbell to begin their three-week exercise, Operation Lethal Eagle II, or OLE II, April 22-May 13 to increase the readiness and lethality of the world’s premier air assault division.
Major General JP McGee, commanding general of the 101st Abn. Div. (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell said these exercises are designed to prepare units to be ready to operate in the field for an extended period of time and conduct daily operations.
The division must be skilled in bringing all divisional assets to bear for any future fight, he said.
McGee said this time will be used to reinstate an Air Assault culture in the 101st Abn. Div.
Multiple training events will be concurrently conducted throughout the division’s units to include air assault heavy load, spring loading, lateral movement operations to different locations and leader professional development sessions.
This exercise affords Soldiers a chance to apply the total Soldier concept in their training because they will be performing duties they are not used to during their normal duty day.
“OLE II instills excellence, builds cohesive teams and reinforces repetitions to master performance skills,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Vitalia Sanders, senior enlisted leader for Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Abn. Div. “This exercise focuses on dispersion, protection and concealment. The more Soldiers experience operating in the field environment the more competent and ready they will be.”
Sergeant First Class Ashley Breedon, division engineer, HHBn, 101st Abn. Div. (Air Assault), said it is good to be out in the field training in an environment where Soldiers do their job.
“As engineers, getting to practice in a real field environment allows us to understand how to properly work in this environment,” she said.
Breedon said HHBn, 101st Abn. Div. learned a lot from Operation Lethal Eagle I about what they did well and where they could improve. She said they plan to use that knowledge during OLE II. Operation Lethal Eagle I was conducted Nov. 1-21, 2021.
“We know our team better, we know our equipment better and we are prepared,” Breedon said. “We have set bigger challenges to overcome and I cannot wait.”
Breedon said they have received better equipment and different assets to come out to build the battlefield and to protect our force.
Another important asset, who is also ready to train in the field, is Pfc. Healey Miller, a system maintainer/integrator with Signal, Intelligence, and Sustainment Company, HHBn, 101st Abn. Div.
“I am new here to the 101st and excited to be out here testing my skills,” Miller said. “It allows me to get to know my team, learn how they work and how I can contribute.”
Miller said her job is important in the field and it is good to see what problems she may encounter in this type of environment.
“The job varies from software being updated to helping maintain national security by keeping complex computer systems, hardware and secure networks up and running,” Miller said. “We have to keep the systems going so information can continue to flow throughout the base to support the Soldiers.”
OLE II is another opportunity for the division to increase its readiness for any mission they are called to complete.
“The purpose of these operations is to build upon lessons learned to conduct command and control across dispersed locations, to test systems and processes, and increase readiness for contingency operations, while setting conditions for a future fight against a near-peer adversary,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Crawford, commander, HHBn, 101st Abn. Div. “Events occurring in Europe show the complexity of commanding and controlling a division-level command and the experience we are gaining is invaluable.”