Dragoon Ready 20: CPT Karl Tiemann – Interview

CPT Tiemann talks about being apart of opposition forces and why their job matters. Tiemann also discusses why exercises like Dragoon Ready 20 are beneficial and the importance of training with other nations.

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All right, so we’re in the village of Insulvane today at JMRC. Today my company is conducting a strong point defense of the town, basically trying to delay and disrupt 2CRs that make their way through the box. Well I think this is an excellent opportunity for units to get exposed to real and emerging threats. I think 1-4 does an excellent job of giving a hard and realistic fight to whatever units show up here. I think that we give them the opportunity to see their flaws. The number one thing we stress to these guys is our job is to beat them. Our job is to beat them, to put the pressure on them, to inflict pain and suffering. Make them understand the things they need to do to prepare themselves for combat. So, my company represents the reconnaissance task force. So, typically we’re the first element that’s out, we are out front, we’re reporting on 2CR, whatever other units show up in the box. We report on them, we find them, we tell higher where they’re at and then we try and close with them and assist the battalion in defeating them. I mean, for maybe it’s a personal response to it, so several units ago as a platoon leader in 1st Armored Division, I was in an SBCT finding all the strykers. So I’ve got a pretty good grasp on their capabilities, their limitations and being able to understand that and deploy that, you know, normally all of us come from different backgrounds so when we look at, you know we’re fighting a ABCT only so many of us have experience fighting an ABCT. Knowing what strykers are capable of, knowing what that force capable of, is really given me kind of an edge in understanding what I can do, what they can do, so it makes it a bit more understandable for me as a commander trying to come out here and fight them, just knowing their platforms, knowing their capabilities. Yes, this actually probably been one of the best parts of this job. This is actually the first rotation I haven’t been augmented by a multinational force. I’ve worked with Latvians, the British, the Danes, Bulgarians, Hungarians, I could probably name another eight to ten different nations that I’ve been partnered with, directly with the company, incorporated directly with my teams and my platoons, maneuvering basically under the task force’s control and achieving objectives for us. It’s been a great learning point for us. We pull up a lot of good TTBs from them. It also gives them, I think from the OPFOR perspective, the multinationals that get augmented to us get the opportunity to really think outside the box and try new things. I think oftentimes when they’re on the RTU side or the training unit side of the house often what happens is they, they’re limited by what the brigade’s task and purpose they’re given, whereas here, we give them a lot more latitude and freedom to be able to try their own tactics, try new things before they have to go out into combats, we’ve been partnered with the Ukranians several times, then actually getting to practice things without somebody shooting at them has been a real benefit for them. So it’s been great for us to learn, it’s also been great to really pull multinational units in and give them a lot of freedom on this side of the house. Well I mean there’s a lot of TTPs, right, tactics, techniques, procedures, there’s a lot of TTPs that get pulled from each other. You know often a big problem will be communications cause it’s not just like communications as far as how we talk on a radio to each other but how do we communicate doctrine that is different from each other, how do we sync our assets? So I mean oftentimes with us, I don’t have a team with one of of my teams. The platoon leader, I give him a task and purpose and he goes and executes that task and my platoon leaders execute the same. So seeing them try to work together and trying to find a way to communicate between each other, and really overcome any obstacles, has really been a challenge and honestly it’s been a lot of fun to see, especially a lot of these multinational platoon leaders that don’t get this kind of opportunity to come out and train, they don’t get to train a lot in a larger environment. To be able to put them into a larger battlefield and say, “I need you to go do this,” and when they ask you, “Well how do you want me to do it?” And I says, “You come up with a great plan and go execute.” And they do great things with it and so we see a lot of new things come out of it. We are always in the box. I mean, so for us, I think we get a lot of reps of maneuvering. I think sometimes it can be a disadvantage for some of our junior soldiers cause there are some things we do different here that they’re gonna go to units as a sergeant and might not have been exposed to, but at the same time there’s the opportunity here to go out and to maneuver and to fight people. You can hand your sergeants a task and say, “I need you to go do this,” and give them complete latitude to go execute with little to no supervision and really get to develop them. It’s a great place to develop the junior leaders. As I tell a lot of my platoon leaders, you’re never gonna maneuver this much anywhere else so some of your peers are gonna do more live fires in other units, they might deploy somewhere, but nowhere are they gonna be able to maneuver and really get that training and that rep of taking on a thinking opponent and maneuvering and defeating them. You’re not gonna get that in another unit like you will in an OPFOR unit. I think the big thing here and I mean I stress what we can do as OPFOR, but the JMRC as a whole, just the opportunity to really test emerging threats. I know there’s the date rotations, which the two other CTCs execute, I know we execute, it’s called the Day D, so focused on Europe, and we really try hard to implement a lot of the emerging threats and tactics that are being seen throughout this AO. I think it is also very real cause here at JMRC, units here are sitting on what is considered a front. They’re not back at a home station, they’re not back rotating through their CTC to go back to their home station from there. Units here are living with the fact that there is a threat and that they’re on the other side of the ocean for a threat, and we’re here on this opportunity to test them and prepare them for that threat.

[Interviewer] Awesome.

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