Lane training provides a path to mission proficiency

| Exercise News Day | Aug. 21, 2019

FORT MCCOY, WI —

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers took time to maintain and enhance their tactical proficiency at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Aug. 14, 2019. 

Lane training is a process used to evaluate unit training progress. It also gives unit leadership an update report on training already conducted at their home duty stations. 

Master Sgt. David Malsom, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Army Warrior Testing Lanes on Fort McCoy said squad-sized elements ran through a scenario-based lane. They're tested on six basic warrior tasks anywhere from land navigation to evaluating a casualty.

“It's basic skill-level-one tasks that any Soldier should be able to do in the Army, however, they are perishable skills,” said Malsom. “Just like any other job that we have, military or civilian, if you don't stay on top of your skills they become degraded over time.”

Soldiers were tested and evaluated on the skill lanes by observer controller trainers, commonly known as OC/Ts. They either passed or failed. During their training, Army Reserve Soldiers had to locate an injured battle buddy in a nearby village. The lane incorporated several training tasks.

“How do I get from point A to point B? What do I do if there is a medical emergency?” said Malsom. “It's building confidence in the Soldiers' combat lethal skills that keep everybody alive in a wartime environment.”

“We're a transportation unit,” said Sgt. Charles Smith, 850th Transportation Company headquartered in Lyons, Mississippi. “We don't really get to get in and do land navigation. We have trucks. So if we're doing land navigation, we're driving around.”

Smith, part of a newly-formed squad, navigated though brush in search of the injured Soldier, but to no avail. Occasionally tempers flared and the squad readjusted. 

“We got through it,” said Smith. “The unit cohesion was there. We argued but we worked through all our problems, and we got the mission done.”

Other units shared the same feeling after completing the lanes.

“Being Army Reserve Soldiers, we don't do it all the time and some of us feel fearful of failing,” said Sgt. Jose' Gonzalez, a fuel supply specialist with the 1017 Quartermaster Company, based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

“We're all working as a team together,” Gonzalez added. “My advice is … set fear and pride aside and just remember whatever the task. You're going to work as a team … here, home, and even overseas. We never do anything alone.”