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Bridge CSTX expands to gap Reserve readiness

By Master Sgt. Anthony L Taylor | 85th Support Command | March 27, 2018

FORT KNOX, Ky. — FORT KNOX, Ky. – Crawling through the dirt, communicating using hand and arm signals, and rushing three to five seconds across a field is but a few of the basic skill level one tasks that U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers were executing at the Army Reserve’s Bridge Combat Support Training Exercise 78-18-03, Mar. 1 - 29, 2018.

Bridge CSTX 78-18-03 encompassed more than 11,000 service members from nearly 200 units across the country, and its focus is on the Ready Force X units, whose preparation revolves around being trained and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

“(Bridge CSTX) is envisioned from the Army Reserve’s perspective as a bridge to an increased readiness posture,” said Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Chris Gentry, Deputy Commanding General (Support), First Army.

CSTX 78-18-03, which was additionally conducted at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; and Joint Base Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia is a critical component in training Reserve forces with their basic warrior tasks and collective battle drills in order to prepare them for their jobs in real life situations, stated Col. Flint Patterson, commander of the 4th Cavalry Multi-Functional Training Brigade, First Army Division East.

“They’re getting good individual and collective training here, and that’s an important building block to working as a team,” said Patterson. “They’re coming together in terms of doing the warrior tasks individually, and then doing a collective task together in order to move the unit to a gated exercise.”

Throughout the early stages of CSTX 79-18-03, observer coach/trainers mentored and supported Soldiers training through their skill level one tasks, ahead of their lanes training.

“For this portion, we make sure that they’re tracking all the level one skills,” said Army Reserve Sgt. Jason Kapayou, 3rd Battalion, 383rd Regiment, 4th MFTB, 85th Support Command, based out of St. Louis, Missouri. “Beyond that, we’re going to lanes training. At that point, they are going to get evaluated on different missions, convoy operations, reacting to indirect fire and events such as that.”

Kapayou further explained that lanes training would look at the preparedness and the reactions of teams; last minute changes to the mission were implemented, to include withdrawing leadership from scenarios, to test the most junior Soldiers.

Sgt. Joshua Hensley and Staff Sgt. Brandi Kammel, both assigned to the Army Reserve’s 417th Quartermaster Company, based in Scottsburg, Indiana, were a few of the trainers from individual units that prepared their Soldiers ahead of their required lanes training.

“We’re doing individual movements, so the four tasks are: react to indirect fire, react to direct fire, select a hasty fighting position, and report to higher,” said Kammel. “And throughout all of this, they are moving as a member of a team, so that’s part of what they’re getting graded on as well.

Army Reserve Sgt. Dwight Funez, assigned to the 974th Transportation Detachment based in Phoenix, Arizona, was also a trainer for his unit who arrived to Fort Knox. He arrived for two more weeks, after his unit completed two weeks at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, training at the Army Reserve’s Cold Steel II gunnery exercise.

“It’s been going awesome,” said Funez. “Training tomorrow’s troops means everything to us. I believe that you’re a Soldier twenty-four seven.”

Ready Force X units represent all Army Reserve capabilities, to include: aviation, engineers, medical, chemical, logistics, and personnel support functions such as human resources, finance, military police, civil affairs and transportation. CSTX helps identified RFX units meet their RFX requirements.

“It’s important for Soldiers to understand how to survive on the battlefield, and understand different dimensions of the battlefield in terms of the types of environments that they’re going to have to survive and operate in,” said Patterson.

“Everyone’s doing a one-hundred percent, start to finish, and then moving out to the next level of going to the situational training exercise, said Patterson. “So that’s a real big improvement in terms of the teams working together, and the teams moving together through each phase of the operation.”