FORT McCOY, Wis. –
Keeping up on the basics in the Army, whether you are in the active Army or in the Army Reserve, can be challenging. For many Soldiers the first and only time they have learned how to do hand and arm signals or how to triage an "injured" Soldier was in basic training. For the U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 372nd Engineer Brigade, 416th Theater Engineer Command, Fort Snelling, Minn., they spent some of their time in January, 2022 between training events here brushing up on the often-forgotten minor details of being in the Army.
“What we are doing with all the classes is mainly as a refresher but also as a class for those that don't know it. Speaking for myself coming in from the Marine Corps side we didn't do this training. But for everyone here, they don't do this for their living, this is not their career job.” said Sgt. Kory Southward, a fire team leader and electrician. “What they do outside of the military can be vastly different. They could be flipping burgers, mechanics, FedEx package handler, you name it one of these guys is probably doing it. So, they don't know this nitty gritty information off the tops of their heads. Like hand and arm signals, who knows how to back up a vehicle or a vehicle with a trailer.” said Southward.
He noted that the Army does focus more on treating a casualty on the battlefield but unless the Soldier's Military Occupational Specialty is in the medical field the basics can easily be forgotten as well.
“For the medical side it's the same thing. Nobody knows how to apply a tourniquet, or properly triage a casualty, of who is most important or who is already a goner.” Southward added.
For a lot of Soldiers this kind of training can get annoying or repetitive. But this training is vitally important, not just for the individual Soldier but for the leaders as well.
“This training is important because it's a good two weeks of camaraderie. We can figure out who is who, how they respond to how we lead, what are some of the Soldier's weaknesses, what are their strengths. This is a good two weeks of how we can assess everyone's situation and figure out who needs a little more training and in what areas.” said Southward.
As a leader knowing your Soldiers is vital and knowing what areas your Soldiers are weak in can help you develop training plans based on your experience. Also, knowing what Soldiers are strong in other areas can help you develop future leaders by letting those Soldiers teach classes in subjects they know inside and out.
“For the leaders that are coming in, if you have a deployment coming up, think now of ways to not waste your Soldier's’ time but ways to fill that time up with useful classes. Fill in the 'what ifs' and how to manage a fire watch, gate guarding or how to interact with civilians, or how to handle an IED coming at you at the gate. These are the little things leaders need to think about and train their Soldiers on.” added Southward.