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NEWS | March 9, 2023

Battalion Command Teams training enhances Army Reserve Readiness

By Staff Sgt. David Lietz and Staff Sgt. Erika Whitaker 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command

The 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command hosted a Battalion Command Teams Training event, March 3-5, 2023, for First Army Division West command teams at the Colonel Paul G. Schulstad Army Reserve Center in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

The 85th USARSC’s formation is made up of more than 3,500 Army Reserve Soldiers, spread across 45 battalions in 25 states. These Soldiers make up half of First Army’s formation and provide observer/coach trainer and logistical support for First Army’s mission of mobilizing and deploying forces.

“The purpose of the (Battalion) Command Teams Training is to better understand how to request resources and develop relationships with the 85th Support Command,” said Col. David Neary, G-3, Deputy Chief of staff. “And to understand the unique environment in which these battalions operate in direct support of First Army.”

Representatives from U.S. Army Reserve Command’s Army Reserve Career Group and First Army participated in the training.

Appearing virtually, Maj. Gen. Mark Landes, (Acting) Commanding General, First Army, gave opening remarks to the leaders and staff.

“I want to start out by saying how much I appreciate your service. We would not be able to do the missions we do without you,” said Landes. “What are you doing to help component two and component three units be more ready? That’s really your focus. We must help them with their total readiness.”

During his presentation, Landes talked about the importance of commanders assuming risks by focusing on the Chief of the Army Reserve priorities, like realistic army training, and less focus on performance metrics.

Command Sgt Maj. Melissa Vine, 1-364 Training Support Battalion, 85th USARSC, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington reaffirmed a point made by Bill Hamilton, Deputy 3/5/7, USARC.

“Mister Hamilton, our USARC representative gave the most reassuring briefing. I enjoyed hearing him talk about assuming risks and giving commanders reassurance that they have the leniency and authority to take risks,” said Vine. “Our commanders are sometimes afraid to make decisions without the guidance of higher headquarters and sometimes we don’t have the time to wait for that guidance. Talking about the Army Reserve priorities and how we’re going to get after them, in conjunction with Lieutenant General Daniels’ intent and guidelines was probably the most helpful to reassure us, the battalion commands are staying on track and that it’s ok that we’re choosing not to do some things. We’re just assuming risks.”

Just a few years ago, Soldiers were limited to classrooms conducting training, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Phillips, 2-411 Logistics Support Battalion, 85th USARSC, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

That’s changed.

“Now we can get the Soldiers out driving vehicles (again). We must have a utilization of driving vehicles. They are out there driving. Our utilization metrics have gone up. That’s great news,” said Phillips.

Command team members also appreciated the opportunity to maintain their current relationship with the 85th USARSC and to learn what other battalions are doing for training.

“You get interaction with other battalion command teams. Getting an idea of what kind of training they are conducting, especially with the battalion command team briefs we have coming up,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Walton, Battalion Commander, 2-364 Training Support Battalion, 85th USARSC, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington. “So, there’s lessons learned to be passed on to units who follow us and then we can pick up some ideas from the units who went before us.”