It is always rewarding to watch skilled warriors perform their jobs. Many of my fellow soldiers at this training center have been mobilized for some time or it is their second or third mobilization. All are Army Reservists and many, like me, have already been to Iraq or Afghanistan.
When your mission is to prepare soldiers for war, that task becomes a profound one. These trainers will receive their first group of students on Friday. In only a week they have prepared training lanes and organized classes. They continually rehearse what they will teach and do so in front of their leaders and peers.
During these informal classes, the instructors seek and receive input and suggestions. They do everything they can to make sure all necessary information will be included and that all critical tasks can be learned.
The soldiers being trained are also experienced veterans for the most part, but the classes are aimed at the new guys. The basics of each task are reviewed, the students conduct walkthroughs and rehearsals and then they perform the task at full-speed. If they need to do it again, they do so until they are comfortable with it.
Finally, the squads and platoons will execute the tasks on a lane with an opposing force, or OPFOR, that will represent the insurgent enemy the soldiers will soon face for real. The current tactics, techniques and procedures of the enemy will be those used by the OPFOR trainers.
The veteran instructors at this post, which I will not name for security reasons, do a critical job at a major point in our nation’s history. War is always in a constant state of ebb and flow. Tactics change, units take on missions they have never performed and the leaders and their subordinates must adapt to an increased call for their services.
Fortunately, the Army is filled with motivated volunteers who see the bigger picture in this war on terror. They don’t have time for whining or political correctness. Give them their mission, make sure they have the right training and they will perform magnificently.
I am proud to be one of them.
SFC Chuck Grist