By Sgt. 1st Class John Buol
Members of the Great Lakes Training Division (84th Training Command) led by Cpt. Joshua Gisi (HHD Commander), Master Sgt. Jeffrey Bruce (Senior Command Career Counselor), and Sgt. 1st Class Theodore Stevens conducted Army Reserve Postal Matches during their weapons qualification at Fort McCoy. The training created a very high qualification rate, with all but one Soldier in attendance passing successfully.
For the Postal Match, the GLTD Soldiers fired the Margaret Thompson Murdock and William James Sutton Postal Match. "We are a One Star Command providing Observer Trainers for command group operations and this was our first time firing any of the Postal Matches. It was a test run for us," said Master Sgt. Bruce. "We also reviewed the biographies of the Soldiers each match is coined after. The unit appreciated the historical connection, especially the Equal Opportunity lessons found in Maj. Murdock's story. The new revisions to the Postal Match are a dramatic improvement over the old design and we appreciated all the changes and updates."
In addition to the training value, which integrates well with the Army's current progressive and gated Weapons Training Strategy detailed in TC 3-20.0, these Postal Matches also provide a high retention value. "I am a Senior Command Career Counselor and as Special Staff to a Brigadier General, I work with all of our down trace units on retention, sponsorship, and recruiting programs. Being able to help a down trace unit conduct a Postal Match adds value of me doing a Staff Assisted Visit," said Master Sgt. Bruce. "I am proud of my HHD allowing me to test my ability to add this training to their event so I can offer it to other units. I feel these Postal Matches enable me to do my job better, make drill time more enjoyable, build morale within units, improve marksmanship skills, and add value to the Army overall."
Good training such as this is an ideal way to increase Soldier retention throughout the Army Reserve. "When I was an Army Reserve Career Counselor, a Water Reclamation unit I supported had the strongest retention with Soldiers fighting to join," said Master Sgt. Bruce. "It's not that water reclamation was overly rewarding, it was because the unit hosted a Schützenschnur (German Armed Forces Badge for Weapons Proficiency) every year and they created a massive draw as Soldiers enjoyed serving when they were able to do motivating training. Postal Matches are a way every unit can offer something similar for their Soldiers."