Master of disaster: Experience on display while training at CSTX

By Spc. Gordon Penn | Exercise News Day | July 17, 2018

FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. — Master Sgt. Michael Montoya, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 378th Observer Coach/Trainer (OC/T) Regiment, utilizes his decades of combat experience to supervise training lanes for Combined Support Training Exercises (CSTX). 

Montoya, a former member of Special Forces, assists the 84th Training Command in teaching and improving support units’ in convoy operations here. Exercises are an important step in building the most capable, combat-ready, and lethal Army Reserve force in history. 

“Warfare has changed in the decades since I joined the Army,” said Montoya. “We built these training lanes two years ago to provide a group of obstacles to teach and improve the tactical skills of our combat support Soldiers.”

These convoy operations lanes, roadside bombs, near and far ambushes, and CS gas attack stations were developed to improve each unit’s training readiness and to assess how they perform in a dynamic operational environment.

According to Montoya, the Army’s support units, such as medical, logistics, and military police are excellent at their specific roles and do their jobs better than any other country’s military.

This exercise is designed to provide support units the experience through training which focuses on basic combat skills such as reacting to contact and indirect fire. Mastering these skills can mean the difference between the success and failure of a combat mission. 

Montoya believes the goal of the OC/T during CSTX is to take years of experience in combat arms and teach these units the tasks they have to know to defend themselves.

OC/Ts teach combat skills that Soldiers must know as warfare, which is constantly changing, even beyond the Afghanistan conflict. Support Soldiers must practice and adapt the 21st century combat skills until they become second nature to them.

“I was a member of the 19th Special Forces Group for twenty-some years and frankly one day I discovered that maybe I am a little too old to continue jumping out of planes and running down the side of mountains,” said Montoya. “I have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge and I am not too old to teach what I know and now I feel compelled to pass it on to the next generation.”

The 84th Training Command helps the U.S. Army Reserve maintain a ready status by supporting new and traditional training strategies that produce units of action and individual Soldiers who are trained and equipped to meet mission requirement.

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