NEWS | July 26, 2016

Army Reserve and active component partner for soldier readiness at WAREX

By Sgt. 1st Class Anthony L Taylor 85th Support Command

FORT MCCOY, Wis. – The Army Reserve’s 1st Battalion, 383rd Regiment, observer-coach/trainers, based in Des Moines, Iowa, arrived to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, July 9, 2016, in support of Warrior Exercise 86-16-03.

The 1-383, assigned to the 85th Support Command with operational control to 181st Infantry Brigade, First Army Division West, is providing readiness training with qualified OC/Ts to improve leader and collective task proficiency with Army Reserve units participating in the WAREX here.

First Army’s active component, 181 INF BDE, headquartered at Fort McCoy, partnered with the 86th Training Division and the 75th Training Command in an effort to achieve multi-echelon integration while coaching company-level and below sized units there with leader and collective task proficiency.

According to Lt. Col. Daniel Jaquint, battalion commander of the 1-383, his portion of the overall exercise training support includes near 30 of his qualified OC/Ts to train more than 500 soldiers assigned to the Army Reserve’s chemical and military police units.

“The battalion is here to coach and train client units and to help with some of their skills sets that they may not have worked on at their home stations,” said Jaquint. “So when they get out in the field environment, we look at troop leading procedures.”

The WAREX provides an environment allowing units to function in a tactical environment, and to conduct basic-level planning with qualified OC/Ts to mentor and guide them through the process.

“This may be the only time that a unit is going to conduct missions rolling out at night, set up their BIDS (Biological Integrated Detection System) and conduct an operation,” said Jaquint referring to chemical units there. “We take them through a refresher of basic soldier skills and work with the exercise teams that have the plan of action for the exercises. Certain events will be triggered to happen that will force these units to take action.”

The training is developed to evaluate soldiers through different training lanes while completing their tasks; OC/Ts evaluate unit’s preparedness levels and adjust training, provide coaching and mentor soldiers at their proficiency level to help them properly advance to their next stage ensuring readiness.

“We help (soldiers) evaluate themselves to get to the point where they are operating within army doctrine,” said. Staff Sgt. Harley Martindale, 1-383 noncommissioned officer-in-charge of OC/Ts overseeing training for 314th Chemical Company, based in Decatur, Georgia.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Colt, Commanding General, First Army Division West, arrived to Fort McCoy to meet with one of his brigades that is assigned there and put “eyes on” training conducted there.

“I’ve come to observe the 181 Infantry Brigade, the operations group facilitating the WAREX, and to intensively examine how we came through the live-fire proof of principle,” said Colt. “I’m hoping to see a multi-echelon of trainers that have created an environment for these select crews to work their way through live-fire certification training in the proof of principle. We’re looking at what kind of assistance multi-component units, in this case compo 3, need in order to be able to meet its training gates and ultimately facilitate its readiness towards objective T.”

Spc. Courtney Sattler, Information Technology Specialist assigned to the 206th Regional Support Group, based in Springfield, Illinois, was one of the reserve soldiers at the live-fire proof of principle range preparing for a final qualification.

“We’re at Table Five which is a practice for the final Table Six tomorrow, and we are refreshing to make sure that we are good for our qualification,” said Sattler. “We’re excited for tomorrow’s qualification.”

Spc. Jeremy Bookland, Information Technology Specialist, 206th RSG, shared that as an IT specialist it was still important to maintain basic soldier skills.

“We have to keep up with military standards, shooting our assigned weapons on an annual basis,” said Bookland.

Command team members from the 86th TD, 75th TC, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and the 85th Support Command were but a few that visited the WAREX.

Army Reserve Col. Robert Cooley, deputy commander for the 85th SPT CMD, met with Jaquint and visited forward operating (training) bases: Liberty, Justice and Patriot there.

“Our role is critical. We are the main providers of the OC/T soldiers to the First Army mission,” said Cooley. “Our mission is absolutely critical as an OC/T in a more expanded role to be a mentor, teacher, and trainer, and our partnership is critical in executing this mission.”

Cooley explained that the 85th SPT CMD’s 4400 assigned soldiers are operationally controlled by First Army and the training brigades, and the created support environment is to ensure that the focus of the WAREX is at the platoon leader-level and the platoon structure so that leaders and soldiers have an opportunity to conduct multiple iterations to become proficient in their skills and tasks.

The partnership has been a collaboration and synchronization of all three components from the active, Army Reserve, and National Guard.

“First Army is moving upstream in the pre-mobilization training to include the post mobilization,” said Cooley. We’re here to make sure that our reserve training support battalions and logistical support battalions that operate at First Army are fully embedded in this partnership environment and have the resources to ensure our OC/Ts are seamlessly embedded in supporting the reserve soldiers that are here in the exercise box.”

Cooley explained that soldiers were currently in phase four which is operating in FOBs or tactical assembly areas, but the intent was to get back to phase two and three, or basic soldier skills in a “dynamic, complex and austere environment” operating out of tents in the “tree line”.

“The intent is that you deploy with the soldiers that are trained. You deploy with the equipment that you have and you come out to a field environment, not a FOB,” said Cooley. “We’re going back to the basics, living and operating in the field and being proficient in basic soldier skills. Shoot, Move and Communicate.”