FORT HOOD, TX- The 38th Infantry Division from the Indiana National Guard touched down at the Fort Hood Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group terminal (A/DACG) on March 26, 2020 after a 10 month deployment to the Central Command Area of Operations in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
Over the past 10 months the Soldiers of the 38th Infantry Division have been providing leadership, command, control, and in-depth staff analysis for Operation Spartan Shield. Operation Spartan Shield (OSS) is a unique, multi-component organization, made up of active Army and National Guard units, rounded out by U.S. Army Reserve support units.
The 38th Infantry Division Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Gordon L. Ellis, said “there were many successes, but dynamic force employment is the one that really sticks out.” Maj. Gen. Ellis said, “Dynamic force employment is receiving, integrating, staging, and preparing an unplanned unit for operations in theater.”
Another big success the Soldiers of the 38th Infantry Division accomplished was the movement of a mechanized unit by air into a theater of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. “The last time the United States Army loaded up a mechanized force and sent it by air into a theater of operations hasn’t been done in an excess of 20 years,” Ellis said. “I was very impressed by the Soldiers because the resident knowledge for accomplishing this mission was nonexistent and because the division completed the task in less than 72 hours.”
Maj. Gen Ellis said the greatest sense of pride he has for his Soldiers is that the 38th Infantry Division never failed to execute a single mission. “Not one mission did we fail to execute in accordance with the time frames we were given,” said Ellis. “That required an awful lot of adaptability and agility.”
Maj. Gen. Ellis contributed the success of the deployment to the Soldiers of 38th Infantry Division and to the realistic and relevant training provided by 120th Infantry Brigade, Division West. “There was a good sound partnership between the Division and First Army to build a sound training process leading up through the CTE,” said Ellis. “The CTE was based on the most relevant information Division West could glean which was very helpful to us.” Division West demonstrated tactical flexibility by giving the 38th ID the ability to change the CTE to better match what was going on in country. This ultimately better prepared the Soldiers and leaders of the 38th ID to assume the Operation Spartan Shield mission in the Central Command Area of Operations.
With an abundance of caution and in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Soldiers returning from Center for Disease Control and Prevention level 2 and above countries are required to quarantine for 14 days. CDC quarantine guidelines ensure non-symptomatic people are not unknowingly spreading the virus, which also helps to ensure the health of the force.
It was no surprise to Maj. Gen. Ellis and the Soldiers of the 38th ID when they were sent into quarantine. “The key variable that no one planned for obviously was COVID-19. One of the things again that we hit very hard as we could see this coming was that we wanted to treat COVID-19 just like any other mission,” said Ellis. “We understand the reason for the quarantine and we are all in this together. This is occurring and just like any other mission we are going to work through it. We are going to execute it and come out better on the other side.”
Maj. Gen. Frank Tate, Commanding General of Division West, said, “Going through quarantine is part of a Soldier’s duty to safeguard the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It’s our duty as leaders to make sure Soldiers have the best quality of life possible while they’re doing their duty, whether at home or deployed.”
“I have to give credit to Division West, Hood Mobilization Brigade, and Fort Hood because the quality of life has gotten better each and every day,” said Maj. Gen. Ellis. “Our Soldiers understand that we are working with Division West and North Fort Hood to reduce our demobilization timeline so we can get back to our families sooner.”
“As the Commander of the 38th ID forward, I want to thank every family member for their sacrifice for allowing their Soldier’s to go forward. They are truly the bedrock foundation that prepares Soldiers to go and execute missions on behalf of the State and the Nation,” said Ellis. “I couldn’t be more proud and honored to have had the opportunity to command the Soldiers of this Division.”
The 38th ID is ready and able to take on any task or mission the nation or the state of Indiana gives them. Maj. Gen. Ellis believes that if the last 10 months is any indication of what the division can do, he has no doubt the Soldiers of the 38th Infantry Division are ready for their next chapter in history.