Warriors complete year long mobilization at Fort Sill

06/08/2010  |  Master Sgt. David Knight 3/378th, 95th Training Division (IET)
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Drill Sgt Michael Williams assists a trainee during Basic Rifl e Marksmanship. The Soldier was in the fi rst Gender Integrated Training cycle at Fort Sill, Okla. in ten years. Photo courtesy of 3/378th, 95th Training Division (IET).

While the tax deadline makes April 15 hard to forget, for the Soldiers of the 3/378th, 1st Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), the date also stands out as the day they completed their twelve month mobilization at Fort Sill, Okla. The battalion was mobilized with elements from Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, beginning with the mobilization of Echo Company on March 1, 2009. Lt. Col.  Douglas Long of Coppers Cove, Texas and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Gehm of Grand Prairie, Texas made up the command team.

The primary mission of the “Warrior” battalion was to conduct Basic Combat Training (BCT). During the course of the mission the 378th trained nine cycles of BCT with a total of over 1,800 Soldiers trained. An additional cycle was trained by Echo Company under the direction of the 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery.

We learned newer ways to zero our weapons. It improved my marksmanship tremendously in kneeling, standing and prone positions. [We had] a tremendous amount of trigger time and learned to be able to trust our weapons.

There were many challenges for the commanders, Drill Sergeants and other cadre during the mission. Weather extremes during the year complicated the execution of training. Some of the worst winter storms in decades made a stark contrast to the normal heat extremes of the summer. Changes to the basic training program also resulted in last minute adjustments.  “The changes were a hassle, you had to change the training and transportation schedules, but for the most part the Drill Sergeants jumped right on them and took care of them,” said Master Sgt. Terry Ford, Alpha Company, training NCO.

Charlie Company, under the direction of Cpt. Michael Lewis and 1st Sgt. Stephen Raney also had the distinction of being the first company of Gender Integrated Training at Fort Sill in over a decade. The company graduated their last all male class on Nov. 25, and used the period during holiday block leave to finalize preparations for reception of the GIT cycle on Jan. 7. A class of 43 female and 115 male Soldiers graduated on March 12 and was recognized for excellence in unit training with a “Service with Pride” gold streamer award for achieving the highest standards in Basic Rifle Marksmanship, Physical Fitness, and Combat Lifesaver Certification while having no Soldiers absent without leave during the cycle. 

While training was the primary focus during the year, members of the battalion also immersed themselves in Army community events. Drill Sgt. Rodney Edgar played with the Fort Sill Gunners rugby team that won the USA Rugby Military Nationals at Fort Benning, Ga. in May. Drill Sgt. Sandra Salinas, Lincoln, Neb. was selected to represent Fort Sill at the Army Ten Miler in Washington, D.C. in October. Drill Sgt. Jacob Fuller, also from the Lincoln unit, placed second in the heavy weight division during the Fort Sill Combatives Tournament and Drill Sgt. Bradley Lawson of Norman, Okla. was selected to be a combatives instructor for the Fort Sill Modern Army Combatives Fight House.

Photo courtesy of 3/378th, 95th Training Division (IET).

Soldiers get a lesson in first-aid from Drill Sgt Sharity Czologos. The Soldiers were in the first Gender Integrated Training cycle at Fort Sill, Okla. in ten years.

Lt. Col. Douglas Long, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Gehm, Cpt. John Godwin and Sgt. 1st Class Dudley Chandler received the Order of Saint Barbara at the 434th Saint Barbara’s celebration on February 20.

Gehm made sure that the basic training mission did not put a stop to professional development. Over a quarter of the cadre were able to attend professional development courses such as Warrior Leaders Course and Advanced Leaders Course. Many were able to attend multiple phases.

“Their career does not stop when they are mobilized. By going to school they remain competitive with their peers in the rear for promotion and areas of greater responsibility. We were also able to use a different pot of money to make it happen, which freed up annual training and active duty training funds,” said Gehm.  In addition dozens of Soldiers attended local courses for additional duty assignments such as Equal Opportunity Officer, Unit Victims Advocate, and Environmental Protection NCO.

Most of the battalion also had the chance to attend the Combat Application Training Course. This course is designed to improve rifle marksmanship and apply the lessons learned in the current combat environment.

“We learned newer ways to zero our weapons. It improved my marksmanship tremendously in kneeling, standing and prone positions. [We had] a tremendous amount of trigger time and learned to be able to trust our weapons,” said Drill Sgt. Gregory Bradford

A member of the operations staff commenting on the overall success of the mission said, “What people do is more important than what they say. People will tell you their favorite fruit is an apple or a plum, but if you put a bowl of fruit on the table, the bananas disappear first. In the same way the success of the 3rd Battalion’s mission can be demonstrated by the many members of the battalion who accepted additional assignments.”

No matter if they are returning to civilian jobs, or to their businesses or going onto another mobilization, the battalion members take away a wealth of new knowledge and experience.

“I had the opportunity of working with a lot of really great Soldiers that I have learned a lot from. It will be nice to get back home and remember all the Soldiers we trained and experiences we shared. It is hard work and long hours, especially for Drill Sergeants, but the rewards of a successful mission are priceless,” said Sgt. 1st Class Troy Lanka.

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