Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NEW JERSEY –
Climbing over obstacles, shooting weapons, navigating across difficult terrain, and conducting hands-on combatives are just a few of the training events more than 100 Army Reserve Soldiers have been participating in over the last few days here.
The warriors are from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 335th Signal Command (Theater), based in East Point, Georgia, and they arrived here Aug. 5 to learn, refresh and hone their basic soldiering skills over the course of nine days.
“Our purpose is to make sure our Soldiers walk away from this training with those basic skill level one and skill level two task skillsets,” said Maj. Gen. Peter A. Bosse, commanding general, 335th SC (T). “In essence what we are trying to do here is a crawl, walk, run strategy. This is the crawl phase, so our emphasis is on shoot, move and communicate; those basic warrior tasks.”
Bosse stated his training goals for the Soldiers here include weapons qualification on the M9 9mmm pistol and M16A2/M4 service rifle, land navigation familiarization, completion of the obstacle course and conducting training on the Military Decision Making Process.
Although the variety of training the Soldiers have been going through increases their lethality and boosts their individual readiness, it has not come without its share of challenges.
“We have faced many challenges thus far,” said Bosse. “Everyday we have been challenged. From our initial movement bringing us here, to drawing ammunition for the ranges, to a variety of other issues. We have had to keep in mind both patience and flexibility. The best laid plans seem to go awry somewhere along the way and as an army that’s not unusual, so we just have to be prepared to adapt.”
Despite the challenges, Bosse says that overall the training has been going well. “We have been getting lots of engagement from the troops.” he said. “They are having a good time and learning some new things as well.”
One example of troops learning new things was when the Soldiers experienced a lengthy delay in ammunition delivery at the 9mm pistol range. The unit’s combat medic, Sgt. Derrick Burnham, quickly seized the opportunity to teach a class on using a tourniquet.
“In about half an hour, Sgt. Burnham showed us how to properly apply the tourniquet and we tested it out on several people. I even put one on the chief of staff. It was great hip pocket training that really benefited all of us. It was awesome. That’s what good looks like.”
Although the variety of training has been a huge benefit to the unit’s readiness and the Soldiers, Bosse says he is going to add more to the training in the years to come.
“This is the crawl phase and the next time we come here we will be in the walk phase,” he said. “We will ramp up all activities as they relate to shoot, move and communicate. Two years from now I expect us to be in the run phase with a full-blown tactical operations center, camouflage netting, concertina wire, guard towers and everything.”
Bosse, who took command of the 335 SC (T) in October 2016 has been working diligently to ensure his Soldiers are trained, prepared and ready for anything the future holds, and he has set a high goal for his command in the days ahead.
“I think this command will be the best command in the U.S. Army Reserve in three years,” he said. “With our signal and cyber assets, we have some cool stuff that’s rapidly growing with a high-level of interest. We have the right size of command and we are well funded. We have a lot going for us.”
Achieving that lofty status won’t be easy, but Bosse believes he has the formula for success. “It’s going to take three things,” he said. “It’s going to take high standards, leveraging the strengths and passion of our Soldiers to deliver against those high standards and lastly holding people accountable. “
One of those helping to hold Soldiers accountable and setting high standards is Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Bulla, acting first sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 335th SC (T). He helped plan, set up, coordinate and oversee this year's annual training events.
“Coming into this exercise my main goal was to make sure every Soldier received the training they needed to be ready for the fight tonight,” said Bulla. “I think we have achieved that goal, and not only that, the Soldiers thrived,” said Bulla. “They were very receptive to the training events and they executed them very well.”
One of the Soldiers who participated in the training was Pfc. Kaila Fyfe, a human resources specialist, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 335th SC (T). This was her first time at an annual training exercise. “Everyone here has been so nice and helpful to me and I really like that,” she said. “I especially enjoyed going through the obstacle course as a team. That was fun. When I had problems at the zero range, everyone pitched in to help me. Not only did they help me qualify, they also made me feel good.”
With just a few days left in their training here, Soldiers are making the most of the time they have left, building those essential basic skills and ensuring they are ready for anything the future holds.