JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-Fort Sam Houston, Texas -- Reserve Soldiers of the 338th Military Intelligence Battalion wrapped up two weeks of intensive training at the Intelligence and Security Command Detention Training Facility on Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis.
During the fortnight, the facility, the barracks and the area in between served as home for the Soldiers, a situation not unlike that of Soldiers deployed to locations overseas. The facility, operated by the 470th MI Brigade on behalf of the command, provided the Soldiers with the equipment, the setting and the scenarios similar to what they may encounter "down range."
Although a number of intelligence units have trained at the facility, the U.S. Army Reserve's 338th MI Battalion has a unique connection to the brigade.
"The 338th is subordinate to the Military Intelligence Reserve Command," explained Lt. Col. Kevin Hosier, brigade operations and training officer. "However, we have a special relationship with the 338th based on its headquarters location here in San Antonio and the fact that the battalion trained at the IDTF before."
In fact, the 338th MI Battalion was the first unit to complete training at the IDTF after it opened for business in 2008, but things changed since then. There has been a big turnover in the battalion, which includes members from Kansas, New York and a number of other states. Consequently, collective training has been more frequent and more intense.
This time, as one Soldier put it, they jumped right into the training.
"We arrived on a Sunday, had an in-brief, did our prep work and went into the exercise on Monday," said a sergeant first class who is senior analyst with the battalion's B Company.
This round of training demonstrated that, despite a number of new members and despite coming from different parts of the country, these Soldiers were functioning as a team.
"We got to know each other and learned to work together," the noncommissioned officer said. "Communication among members has improved dramatically. … We have a better grasp of what will be expected of us down range."
Training assistance from Soldiers of the 201st MI Battalion who had just returned from duty in Afghanistan was a big help. They worked with the IDTF staff and other members of the brigade as observer-controllers for the exercise.
"The observer-controllers stayed with us the entire duty day," said a staff sergeant who transferred from the infantry to the Military Intelligence Corps two years ago. "They were dedicated to the mission."
The "OCs" regularly offered helpful feedback.
"I could see improvement from most Soldiers, including me," said a member of A Company. "We were watching each other to make sure we're doing everything [we're supposed to do]. With the training came confidence."
"The training was very well orchestrated," said the former infantryman. "The maneuvers are put together very well by the IDTF staff and the brigade support elements helping us."