GARDEN GROVE, Calif. –
Officers and noncommissioned officers within the 91st Training Division seek certification as Observers Controllers/Trainers (OC/Ts) from the OC/T Academy hosted by the 84th Training Command. This week-long course prepares OC/Ts to assess units during collective training exercises.
Initially, the 84th OCT/A framework was established to support OC/Ts in their efforts to provide external evaluations of units performances and give commanders critical performance feedback during training exercises.
In its early conception, the OCT/A focused solely on training materials for OC/Ts at the company level and below. However, today the 84th OCT/A is providing the Army Reserve with OC/Ts that can observe units at both the tactical and operational levels.
Master Sgt. Susana Alejandre, the course manager of the 84th TC OCT/A, spoke to the fundamental characteristics of a successful OC/T.
“OC/Ts observe training to provide relevant feedback to commanders, “said Alejandra. “They provide control measures during a training event and offer professional and tactful guidance for leaders and Soldiers.”
OC/Ts strive for excellence. When asked about the differentiators between a “good” OC/T and a “great” OC/T, Master Sgt. Alejandre gave a thorough response.
“Understanding when to teach, mentor, and coach, a great OC/T knows when to apply these attributes to assist the units by providing technical instruction,” said Alejandre. “They are responsible for identifying when a rotational training unit (RTU) is struggling, understanding when to interject or disrupt training for safety or feedback, and providing insight on unit and leader performance.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Hinton, the 84th TC command sergeant major, and Command Sgt. Maj. Keith Gwin, the 91st Training Division command sergeant major, circulated the battle space and spent time emphasizing their expectations while communicating the impact that OC/Ts have on a unit’s operational readiness.
“The 84th Training Command serves operational units,” said Hinton. “Our goal is to ensure OC/Ts are trained and operationally synchronized with their commands, enabling them to identify future OC/T candidates from within their units.”
The 91st Training Division will host a premier Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) on June 2023 at Fort Hunter Liggett, California. Gwin described his expectations of the OC/Ts that will support this exercise and elaborated on the value that OC/Ts bring.
“In exercises, OC/Ts provide objective observations and assess unit proficiency in support of the commanders’ training objectives,” said Gwin. “They support the completion of tough, realistic training of units and Soldiers while ensuring safe operations are conducted safely.”
Gwin collectively describes the 91st OC/Ts as, “A team of fit, motivated, professional Officers and NCOs that are able to coach, teach, and mentor supported units and leaders.”
Serving as an OC/T provides Army Reserve professionals with a unique skillset and comes with great responsibility.
Before OC/Ts can independently evaluate units, they must graduate the OCT/A. To graduate, they spend time shadowing fellow OC/Ts during an exercise, complete supervised evaluations of units, and earn their certification from their commanders. It is a rewarding career assignment for both officers and noncommissioned officers within the Army Reserve.
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