FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. –
Mission controller trainers worked to enhance combat training lanes during a Combined Support Training Exercise, July 13, 2018. MCTs control opposing forces, simulated explosives and all other effects to enhance combat training for units preparing to deploy and on training missions.
“The ability to provide good, realistic training with excellent training aids for these units potentially headed downrange is essential,” said 1st Lt. Luke Walton, an MCT from A Co. 1/417th Infantry, 91st Training Division. “We’re not out here to play army, we want these units to really feel like they’re in a convoy downrange.”
Army Reserve units will have to complete a series of tasks while on the CSTX lanes, including react to an improvised explosive device, how to react to a close ambush, react to a far ambush, and they’ll be attacked by simulated tear gas.
“We control the effects and enable the attacks and assaults on the reserve units coming through,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Godel, an MCT from 1/417th Infantry, 91st Training Division. “We have grenade and artillery simulators, plus IED sims that we’ll use to train them how to react to each attack.”
MCTs also stay up-to-date with current global events, and the training they provide simulates the environments that these units might find themselves in when they are deployed.
“Something new we’re doing out here is changing from the typical desert and Middle Eastern setting to an Asian setting, adjusting to the political climate and simulating near-peer warfare,” said Walton.
This kind of training re-emphasizes a warrior-first mentality, and that Army Reserve Soldiers need to remain proficient in their Warrior Tasks and Drills. Exercises like CSTX provide the opportunity to hone those skills to a razor-sharp edge.
“This brings them back to that rifleman mentality, and refamiliarizing themselves with their weapon systems,” said Godel. “This also brings them back to patrolling and moving as a unit developing unit cohesion.”
Godel said that he finds a lot of similar tie-ins with his civilian job as a law enforcement officer, and being an MCT, specifically in the way that they run training operations.
“Training with my fellow officers and training Soldiers isn’t that different,” Godel said. “It all runs mostly the same, just this time I’m on the other side,“ he laughed.
MCTs bring years of experience in multiple tactical environments to the table to ensure Army Reserve soldiers remain some of the best on the battlefield.
“I’ve been doing this for more than seven years,” said Godel. “The concept is always the same, prep people to go overseas and go on missions. Ultimately, I believe we’re successful.”