Colonel (Retired) Randy Harris has exhibited support to the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment through multiple touch points while assigned in numerous positions at Fort Polk, including: JRTC Operations Group S3, Fort Polk G3 CTC OIC, Deputy Commander of JRTC Operations Group, and Battalion Executive Officer and Operations Officer of 1-509th PIR.
As the Executive Officer of 1st BN (ABN), 509th IN, COL (Ret.) Harris was responsible for the staff planning and support required for the Opposing Forces (OPFOR) at JRTC to develop plans to portray enemy forces in Afghanistan and Iraq for the Installation’s first Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRE) conducted at JRTC. Through theater reconnaissance, development of the enemy scenario, establishment of relaxed grooming standards policies, authorization to procure civilian clothing for Soldiers and work with Intelligence agencies, the OPFOR were able to form a realistic and formidable threat for Brigade Combat Teams participating in JRTC exercises. Much of these capabilities and asymmetric functions are still the bedrock of OPFOR operations today. Additionally, he was responsible for a 45-day accelerated training ramp-up, equipping, and forward deployment of Able and Baker Companies to Iraq in support of 2nd BCT, 10th Mountain Division. COL (Ret.) Harris also deployed as a member of 1-509th to Iraq on behalf of Operations Group for a short duration theater engagement with Special Operations Command.
As the Combat Training Center (CTC) OIC, G3-Fort Polk, Colonel (Retired) Harris was the proponent for the fielding and sustainment of the then-new OPFOR Surrogate Vehicles for 1-509 and the turn in of the legacy Sheridan tanks and BMP fleet.
In multiple positions at Fort Polk, COL (Ret.) Harris was the champion and proponent for the force modernization and expansion of the OPFOR at JRTC. In each of these positions, he oversaw the various requests for expansion to include additional rifle companies, battalion enablers (Fires, Engineers, ADA, Intelligence), and accompanying staff. Much of this expansion is realized today due to the great work of Geronimo leaders who followed and built on these expansion visions.
Colonel Harris retired after a year-long deployment to Afghanistan as the Deputy Brigade Commander of 1st BCT (Bastogne), 101st Airborne and a final assignment as the Deputy Commander of Operations Group, JRTC.
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