PSYOP Reservists support Texas Guard exercise
Story by: Sgt. Elizabeth Pena
Posted: June 21, 2015
FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from throughout the Army’s three components came to Texas to support the 36th Infantry Division "Arrowhead" during their Warfighter exercise, held in Fort Hood, Texas, May 29 – June 12, 2015.
The controlled exercise, which also featured the regular Army and Army Reserves, was designed to test the battle skills and procedures of the Texas National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division through simulated deployment scenarios.
"Warfighter is important because it's not just the 36th Infantry Division from Texas, but it is a multi-state, multi-organizational exercise,” said Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the Texas adjutant general.
Among the organizations that came to support the mission was the Army Reserves’ 341st Tactical Psychological Operations Company (TPC) from Camp Bullis in San Antonio, Texas. The unit, which handles the analysis, development, and distribution of intelligence, enables tactical commanders to communicate directly with the enemy and foreign civilians during combat operations.
“PSYOP is marketing,” said Army Spc. Lindsey Hoffman, assistant team leader for the 341st TPC. “Our target is to persuade, influence, and change the behavior of a foreign target audience based upon the commander’s intent.”
The TPC is one of the main components that make up the psychological operations (PSYOP) element, which includes a headquarters section, a tactical PSYOP development detachment (TPDD), and a tactical PSYOP detachment (TPD).
During Warfighter, the 341st TPC replicated a headquarters capability with an organic Product Development Detachment (PPD).
“This kind of exercise is a great opportunity for the PDD to train and show the supported unit what they are able to accomplish,” said Army 1st Sgt. Benny Witt, the 341st TCP first sergeant.
Soldiers of the 341st developed and implemented different PSYOP products to use in support of the 36th Inf. Div.’s Warfighter. These training objectives increase the overall combat effectiveness of operations.
“Other exercises are limited to a TPD supporting a maneuver commander,” said Maj. Roxana Pagan, company commander for the 341st TPC. “Only this high level of exercise can provide the same opportunity to not only the PDD, but also the company headquarters."
The two-week training gives units like the 341st TPC and the 36th Inf. Div. an opportunity to come together and train in their mission-specific roles so that they are prepared for real-life combat operations.
“When we deploy, this is the same set up that we operate,” said Staff Sgt. George Rodriquez, noncommissioned officer in charge of PDD. “We bring our equipment, and just like in real life we have to manage expectations because PSYOP is not something that can just happen at the drop of a hat.”