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NEWS | July 27, 2022

WAREX builds readiness within Army Reserve units and OC/Ts

By Staff Sgt. Erika Whitaker 85th Support Command

The U.S. Army Reserve’s Warrior Exercise 78-22-02, conducted at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, through the month of July, brought units and Soldiers from across the country to build on their readiness levels.

The exercise, which trained and evaluated Soldiers on Army Warrior Skill-level 10 tasks through various training lanes and situational training exercises, increased readiness within participating units and supporting OC/Ts.

“WAREX improves unit readiness through input from units,” said Maj. Tyjuan Campbell, WAREX Exercise Planning Officer, 78th Training Division. “Each exercise is built off the Commanders’ training objectives. Units let us know where they are in different areas, for example, whether they are red or amber. Through each planning conference, from the initial to final planning workshops, we’re working with the units to shape the exercise that’s going to increase their metrics.”

Campbell also explained how the WAREX developed soldiers.

“This exercise is designed to take them through individual tasks they can do at their home units, but we provide a platform for them to do a variety of events, from weapons firing, from individual to crews, individual and collective Army Warrior Tasks, and collective training in their MOS (military occupational specialty),” said Campbell. “We’re able to provide them an opportunity to train without having to worry about shortfalls being at the unit trying to do things on their own.”

The AWT Squad lanes were Medicate, Move, and Communicate.

“Each day, the Soldiers break into squads of 10 people,” said Maj. Christopher Gorham, Medicate Lane Officer in Charge, 1st Mission Command Training Detachment, 78th TD. “We then put them on training stations.”

Gorham further explained that there are eight, mirrored training stations at each lane, and the lanes are categorized with an A and B. When squads get on the lanes, they have about 45 minutes to complete Army Warrior Skill-level 10 tasks, led by squad leaders.

“These squad level individual tasks that they haven’t had a chance to do at drill, are known as Sergeants Time Training. They work their way through that, and then get picked up by the First Army OC/Ts. The OC/Ts run them through a scenario lane that uses all eight tasks they’ve been working on,” said Gorham. “Squads have scenarios of five different things that happen as they go through the lane. They get an after-action review on how they did after they finish the scenario lane. Finally, they go to Opportunity Training, which is preparation for the next day.”

Two brigades, a regional support group, sustainment brigade, and four battalions—transportation, two engineer, and movement control--participated in this year’s exercise.

Sgt. Brandon Mann, Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, 630th Transportation Company, described how the WAREX improved his unit’s readiness to enhance his unit’s missions.

“Doing the STX (situational training exercise) lanes is not something we do all of the time because our mission is to focus on convoys,” said Mann. “So, doing dismounted patrols is a big change from what we are used to doing. Overall, the exercise helps improve our unit with normal 10-level tasks that are supposed to be implemented throughout the Army.”

The lanes and STX were facilitated by 78th TD OC/Ts who were supported by First Army OC/Ts. The deputy commander from the 84th Training Command, 78th TD’s higher command, expressed his expectations of the 78th TD for this exercise.

“I’m looking for the 78th TD to make sure their OC/Ts get out there with these units and make sure Soldiers know what they are doing and are doing it safely, that they close out the exercise and get everyone home safe,” said Brig. Gen. Ed Merrigan, Deputy Commanding General, 84th Training Command.

As OC/Ts accompanied units on their training missions, OC/T readiness also improved through the Observer Coach’s interaction with units.

“As the units are going through their training, OC/Ts are going through training, as well,” said Master Sgt. Cameryn Loggins, Observer Coach Trainer, 3-363 Training Support Battalion, 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command. “So, every squad we go through, every cycle we attend, it’s just makes us better OC/Ts so that we can continue to provide a good service and evaluation for the people that’s actually going out.”

Brig. Gen. Richard W. Corner, II, Commanding General, 85th USARSC, along with his command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Steven J. Slee visited the WAREX to receive a brief on the training lanes, and the 85th USARSC’s OC/T support to the overall exercise. Corner spoke to why the WAREX was important to the U.S. Army Reserve.

“This is an event that builds readiness for both the units and OC/T,” said Corner. “It focuses on unit leadership and sharpens skills that are necessary to fight and win in ground combat.”

Corner also expressed his expectations of OC/Ts for the WAREX.

“Integrate with their First Army counterparts who are running this exercise and the 78th (training division) which oversees the exercise,” said Corner. “Make sure that you are proficient in your tasks and that you speak to the units that are going through the training, highlighting their performances either through on-the-spot corrections or readiness improvements when they go back to their home station.”

Corner also stated his goals to improve OC/T readiness.

“Making sure Observer Coaches hit all their phases for OC/T qualification and making sure we are maintaining our education situational awareness of upcoming and current doctrine,” said Corner.

Corner and Slee’s visit ended with a round table discussion with the OC/Ts from the 3-337th, 3-360th, and 3-363rd Training Support Battalions.
The discussion shared insight on the Blended Retirement System, the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army’s upcoming activation, recruitment efforts and encouraged the group to seek out resources, such as Military OneSource. Corner also addressed the importance of mental health and taking care of one another.

“Be good to each other,” said Corner. “Help each other through bad times and lean on your battle buddy.”