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NEWS | July 29, 2022

Back to basics: U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers develop critical skills at Warrior Exercise

By Spc. Karlos Ortiz 361st Theater Public Affairs Support Element

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers work to balance their civilian and military lives on a daily basis and every year they typically spend at least two weeks away from their families to fully immerse themselves in annual training exercises, such as the Warrior Exercise (WAREX).

WAREX is a vital component for a Soldier’s training as it provides the opportunity for individuals and units to prepare for wartime missions and deployments. First Lt. Amanda Palmer of the 940th Movement Control Team (MCT) is one of many reserve Soldiers who have come to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, to participate in this year’s WAREX.

“I think exercises like WAREX are important to the mission of the Army in general because it hits on those basic Soldier skills. We all have our different individual jobs, but everybody is a Soldier first,” 1st Lt. Palmer says. “You have to be able to pick up a weapon and fight, so we went through weapons qualification. You have to be physically fit, so we did the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). You have to be able to move under fire. We’ve gone through a lot of different warrior tasks and training that allow us to be a Soldier first before getting to hone our skills on our individual military occupational specialty (MOS).”

As commander of the 940th MCT, 1st Lt. Palmer understands the value and importance of the training being conducted for herself and her unit. Palmer emphasized how WAREX prepares Soldiers for a variety of challenges they may face when deployed.

“Army warrior tasks, the (ACFT) and how to move as a squad often get lost because we do a lot of planning, computer work and coordinating. At any point in time, a Soldier needs to be able to do those types of skills. So, getting back to those basics is definitely important.”

First Lt. Palmer highlights other various skills that the 940th MCT has learned during their training, such as how to move as a unit, communicate better and perform tactical combat casualty care.

“We don't typically [get to develop those skills] during battle assembly, so being able to do that three days in a row and working together as a team, day in and day out, has really built esprit de corps and helped Soldiers get back to some of those basics,” 1st Lt. Palmer says.

While training and preparation are at the forefront of an exercise like WAREX, there are other benefits and experiences Soldiers receive while with their units. For some Army Reserve Soldiers, annual training events provide the most time spent with their units allowing Soldiers to get to know each other and build positive relationships. The job as a Soldier is to train to standard, execute the mission and get home safely. Like many Soldiers, 1st Lt. Palmer realizes the capability and camaraderie her unit possesses.

“A great attitude goes super far. We definitely have times where we’re able to have fun and relax, but everybody knows when it's time to tighten up and get the things that we need to get done. So, I think that just having a positive attitude and being able to relate with each other about some of the things that everybody experiences in life definitely makes the unit stronger and more cohesive.”