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JFCOM Prepares U.S., Coalition Forces for Iraq Deployment

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2006 – U.S. Joint Forces Command yesterday concluded a week-long mission rehearsal exercise here, designed to help prepare the 21,000 U.S. servicemembers scheduled for rotational deployment to Iraq later this year meet their upcoming mission.

Exercise Unified Endeavor 06-2 provided realistic training scenarios for U.S. Army 3rd Corps command staff, as well as elements of the 25th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions, and individual augmentees assigned as part of Multinational Corps Iraq, officials said.

The exercise included subject-matter experts from U.S. Central Command and multiple interagency organizations. JFCOM and Army observer/trainers also helped accomplish the training objectives.

"We develop a complex environment so the commander and his staff can appreciate how they will have to operate when they get there," said Army Col. Mike Formica, director of the JFCOM Joint Warfighting Center's Joint Exercise Control Group. More than 300 JFCOM military personnel, civilian employees and contractors participated.

According to 3rd Corps officials, the training scenario provided opportunities for U.S. and coalition forces to plan for issues they will soon face, such as in-theater logistics support and security transition to the Iraqi forces.

Army Maj. Gen. James E. Simmons, 3rd Corps deputy commander, said JFCOM officials put together "an extraordinary exercise."

Simmons, who participated in the 3rd Corps' first Iraq deployment train-up two and a half years ago, said JFCOM's improvements to the exercise "have better prepared us to assume our role in this very important operation that we are currently conducting in Iraq."

Prior to Unified Endeavor 06-2, the 25th Infantry Division participated in Phantom Round-Up, an Army Battle Command Training Program lead exercise. It was a specialized mission rehearsal exercise conducted June 9-14 to prepare the division for its rotation to Iraq.

Exercise planners emphasized that United Endeavor 06-2 and Phantom Round-Up were examples of the strong partnership between the Army and JFCOM and provided an opportunity to reinforce joint force and multinational operation partnerships. Planners said the exercises also were an opportunity to reinforce joint and multinational partnerships.

"This is an opportunity too good to miss, and a chance to build better relationships among coalition forces," said British Royal Marine Capt. Nick Cavill. "There could be no better training than this to prepare us to go in theater. I am in awe of what lengths have been taken to reproduce real life scenarios in Iraq. Training with coalition forces really enriches the experience and provides different perspectives."

Military personnel from the United Kingdom, South Korea, Italy and Poland participated in both exercises.

Planning for Unified Endeavor 07 is scheduled to begin next month, JFCOM officials said.

(From a U.S. Joint Forces Command news release.)

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